How Coaching Supports Managers to Become Effective Leaders

International Authority for Professional Coaching & Mentoring (IAPC&M)

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” —Jack Welch

Great leaders such as the likes of Steve Jobs, work with coaches because they fully appreciate the power of coaching and how having a coach in their dream team makes such a positive difference.

Ask a large selection of employees from different companies, sectors, and backgrounds what makes an effective leader, and you will likely get a wide range of answers. When you think about it, it makes sense, our answers are based on personal preferences.

The skills of the leader directly impact the results and behaviour of the team. An excellent leader inspires and guides their team to reach shared goals and creates an environment where their teams are encouraged to be innovative and creative. Team members feel secure knowing their leader is courageous enough to protect them – from the board and shareholders for example. All this results in a team whose confidence and productivity grow.

A less effective leader is likely to end up with a team that is less motivated, not confident enough to take the initiative, and less productive. In effect, a less effective leader fosters a less effective team.

Bill Campbell, who became known as the ‘Coach of Silicon Valley’ expressed it well when he said: ‘Your title makes you a manager; your people make you a leader.’ I invite you to think back to leaders you would go that extra mile for. What was it about them that brought out the best in you?

The skills needed to be a good leader and manage a team effectively will vary depending on the context of the work environment. There are, however, some commonalities. Let’s explore those commonalities and consider how coaching aids leaders to develop these skills, consistently, until they become excellent.

  1. Visionary Thinking: A visionary leader can see beyond the here and now and imagine a compelling future. They easily communicate their vision with their team. This talent for seeing into the future also enables them to spot challenges before they occur. Are not we more likely to trust a leader who has vision and can also see what might be waiting around the corner to trip us up?

Coaching encourages leaders to explore new perspectives, helping them to consider all angles, using reflective questioning techniques. Through goal-setting exercises, coaches help leaders clarify their goals and align their actions with long-term objectives.

  1. Effective Communication: Communication is at the heart of leadership. Leaders must convey their passion, vision, expectations, and feedback clearly and in a way that inspires trust. And let’s not forget that effective communication also includes active listening. Team members who feel heard and listened to are more willing to express their opinions, share their knowledge, and participate in discussions when they feel safe.

Coaching enhances communication skills by providing leaders with 360-degree feedback, role-playing scenarios, and techniques to improve both verbal and nonverbal communication.

Source: iCN Issue 45  (Executive Coaching); pages 10-12