Overview: Successful leadership is an inside-out proposition. Leadership coaching aims to drive leaders in to get them to discover their inner cores and drive them out to effect impactful changes in their behaviors. Leaders should always aim to excel by making fair decisions, facilitating honest dialogue, encouraging appropriate risk-taking, and driving their teams’ visions.
Leaders must always look for new ways to improve as they can’t afford to become complacent. A leader’s job is to be an ambassador and advocate of change, and one can’t achieve that by settling for the status quo.
In their quests to leave their comfort zones behind and challenge themselves, leaders often look to outside sources of inspiration. Many turn to inflexible leadership development programs that work for others. The problem with this approach is leadership is an inside-out proposition, and the inner cores of leaders are unique. One-size-fits-all approaches don’t work in leadership development.
Why Leaders Need Leadership Coaching
Leadership coaching is a personalized approach to leadership development. An executive coaching professional drives leaders in, allowing them to get acquainted with their inner cores. It then drives them out to effect changes in their behaviors and leadership attitudes.
The inner core, with its elements of character and self-concept, is the source of leadership. To improve and excel as a leader, one must discover what’s inside them and work on turning their latent talents into abilities and strengths. To be able to influence others and lead them effectively, leaders must get to know themselves.
Leadership coaches can help this process of self-discovery by asking leaders the right questions. They can guide their steps without acting like psychologists. Once leaders discover their natural thinking tendencies, beliefs, and behaviors, they understand their strengths and weaknesses. Knowing this, they understand how to invest their leadership development efforts for optimal results.
How Can Leaders Ensure They Continue to Excel as Leaders?
Once they understand their inner cores, leaders can adopt certain behaviors that facilitate continuous improvement.
Driving Their Teams’ Visions
Leaders set visions and communicate them clearly to their team members. This way, they ensure employees know the directions their companies take and the values they observe while getting there.
Good leaders set visions; great leaders inspire visions in their followers. Good leaders give their employees clear directions; great leaders ask them relevant questions and inspire them to conjure up visions of their own that align with their companies’ goals.
They resort to the same question-based techniques to drive outcomes. By inspiring people to create their own visions, leaders get them to envision possibilities instead of accepting facts. People find it easier to develop psychological ownership of ideas they feel are their own.
Embracing change is an inherently risky activity. Some employees may also consider full and unbridled participation in the activities of their teams risky. Shy or new employees may feel like sharing their opinions is out of line. Others may have stories to tell and feedback to offer, but don’t want to appear vulnerable before the group.
Good leaders encourage followers to take appropriate risks and voice their opinions regardless of their positions and perceived ranks. Everyone’s feedback is valuable, and sometimes, even irrelevant feedback sparks new and useful ideas.
Facilitating and Inviting
Intelligent leaders are in charge of their meetings but refrain from taking over and dominating discussions. They instead act like orchestra conductors, ensuring everyone has a chance to speak and that the discussion stays relevant to the subject. They invite team members to provide feedback and interact with others. They facilitate open, honest, and constructive conversations.
Making Fair Decisions
Some leaders allow organizational politics to guide their decision-making. Intelligent leaders base their decisions on inputs and analyses. They listen to everyone fairly and treat team members with dignity. They value contributions and ensure contributors know they’re recognized and appreciated.
Leadership coaching professionals and their clients may find it impossible to measure the impacts leaders’ efforts to excel have on organizations. Simple and easy-to-apply solutions exist, however, that allow coaches and leaders to assess the progress they make.