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education-img1Over the past several years, utilizing coaching in business has become a more common practice. Organizations are realizing that incorporating the principles of leadership coaching into their management philosophy team is of great benefit to leaders.

While utilizing coaching within an organization is widely accepted when it comes to working with leaders, training management to become coaches within their own teams is not as widely practiced. Often it appears as though coaching is embraced only as “self-help” for the top-level executives to “better themselves,” rather than a culture that is embedded within the organization with the benefits being passed on to the entire team  to help them develop into more effective employees.

The plain truth is that today, more than ever, there is a need for leadership coaching to become a component of the entire business philosophy. Instead of a tool used only among a chosen few, it should be a part of professional development at all corporate levels. However, while many leaders embrace the need for coaching, they are not adequately trained on how to be a successful coach within their organization.

Before we cover the skills a leader needs to be a successful coach among their team, it is important to understand the components of a successful coaching relationship.

ASSUMPTIONS OF SUCCESSFUL COACHING

  • The coachee already has the answers – This means that the coach is there as a guide rather than a problem solver.
  • The coach is a catalyst – While they do not create the change in the coachee, they are an assistant to helping them move forward.
  • The coachee is accountable within the coaching process– The coach creates the foundation, but the coachee must do the work.
  • The coach is passionate about assisting in the change process – They are driven to see the client succeed.
  • The coaching process is built on trust – All coaching conversations are confidential and the coach/client relationship is highly respected.

CHARACTERISTICS OF A SUCCESSFUL COACH AS LEADER
In order for a leader to be successful in using coaching skills, there are several characteristics they must embody. Coaching is not just about communication, it is about connecting with the client on a deeper level. With that in mind, here are some traits a good coach/leader embodies.

  • Non-Authoritative – The coaching relationship is not built on the coach being in power over the coachee. Rather, the coach and coachee are working cooperatively to reach the predefined goals. The coach is only in charge of the process and structure, but is not responsible for setting the agenda or leading the discussions.
  • Active Listener – Being an active listener means that the coach is mentally present within the coaching conversation.  They ask clarifying questions to ensure they have understanding and listens carefully to understand the core concerns and objectives of the coachee.
  • Powerful Questions – In a previous blog, we discussed the importance of powerful questions. This means questions are open ended, rather than one that would elicit a yes or no response. They don’t include complex language and generally start with words such as what, how, when and where.
  • No Hidden Agendas – An effective coach does not have an emotional attachment to situations described by the coachee. They are honest and direct, yet respectful.
  • Provide Direction – The coach should provide the coachee with tasks that will help them move toward their goal and produce the desired transformation.  This could include journaling, writing down observations, confronting difficult situations, etc.

Being in a position of leadership comes with great respect, yet also great responsibility.  As a leader, it is important to find balance within your role. It is your job to inspire and guide your team to achieve great things. Similarly, the job of a coach also requires great responsibility and is a position of guidance and oversight as they help move their employees to realize their full potential.

Utilizing coaching within a leadership role allows top managers to be more effective in motivating their team and connecting with them on a deeper level. It helps the leader to develop trust among team members and create an emotionally centered work environment.

It is important to point out; however, that proper coach training is a crucial part of becoming a successful coach-leader. For more information on how to help your executive team understand the role coaching plays within a leadership position, please feel free to contact us!

 

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