Overview: Intelligent leaders turn values like empathy, compassion, and leadership vulnerability into core organizational values. To achieve this, leaders must be able to model behaviors that are consistent with these values. When leaders help themselves improve, they enable themselves to help those who depend on them.
The role of a leader is to take others where they can’t go by themselves and to care for people. Leaders help others develop, succeed, and fulfill their potential.
Leadership coaching has long recognized that the ability of a leader to help others determines his or her worth. At the same time, people’s leadership abilities determine how well they can help others.
The objective of leadership coaching is to help leaders help themselves. By doing so, they gain the ability to help others further.
Leaders with the most significant impacts on the lives of reports exhibit a series of specific behaviors that allow their leadership to be impactful. They coach reports, listen actively to their concerns, focus on their personal development, build teams, manage time, and value others.
Childhood Trauma May Interfere with Leadership
Not everyone can engage in these behaviors and turn them into habits. People tend to carry trauma from their childhoods, which can limit their potential. The problem with trauma-based limitations is they aren’t obvious. Those suffering from such trauma find it almost impossible to pinpoint it as the cause of their shortcomings.
Executive Coaching Can Help
Executive coaching professionals champion an interesting concept of self-leadership. Above everything else, coaches try to help leaders find themselves and achieve alignment between their actions and true personalities. Although leadership coaches are not psychologists, they often help leaders dig down and uncover the traumas that prevent them from acting like they want to be.
Self-leadership is about helping leaders develop into effective stewards of their lives, emotions, behaviors, and attitudes. Once capable of leading themselves, leaders become exponentially better at leading others.
Cornerstones of intelligent leadership, like self-awareness and emotional intelligence, are about self-discovery. With a leadership coach, this process of discovery becomes one of co-discovery. It often involves discovering and dealing with underlying trauma that still shapes behaviors and affects attitudes.
Self-Awareness and Its Challenges
In the context of leadership coaching, self-awareness is a basic building block and a concept we tend to throw around without considering how difficult it is for most to achieve. There are also several levels of self-awareness.
Many successful and otherwise intelligent leaders get to points in their careers where they feel unable to progress. They hit walls, and despite their success, they feel unhappy. Hitting the proverbial ceiling is devastating for many. Their relationships become strained, they lose the leadership touches that helped them get to where they are, and many aspects of their lives become unnecessarily complicated and overwhelming.
Such leaders seldom realize they have things in their pasts to blame for their woes. Many grow so desperate that they’re ready to try anything to remedy their situations.
Empathy, Compassion, and Vulnerability
Intelligent leadership requires courageous vulnerability. To many leaders, compassion and vulnerability seem like weaknesses. Leadership vulnerability is a double-pronged weapon.
Leaders who don’t have all the answers empower their followers to contribute to discussions meaningfully. They improve the efficiency and success of the decision-making processes that power their organizations.
Being vulnerable makes leaders more human and approachable. By being approachable, they find it easier to build meaningful relationships. They also give the cultures of their organizations significant boosts.
Employees enjoy the resulting psychological safety, and the positive organizational culture also aids innovation and cooperation.
Leadership empathy is the ability to feel others’ problems. Compassion is the need and motivation to help others solve their problems and escape chagrin.
Vulnerability, compassion, and empathy are core organizational values that trickle down from the top. Leaders who observe these values improve the lives of employees and the performances of their organizations. They must be able to model these core values. Executive coaching can enable them to overcome hurdles that prevent them from doing so.