Being a leadership coach means that you are either developing future leaders or you are attempting to inspire and motivate individual clients or groups to achieve specific goals. Coaches are usually trained on certain skills and techniques that make them more knowledgeable about the science of coaching. They learn theories, assessment tools, and practical exercises that can be used in coaching sessions. But, all the training and education in the world won’t help if you lack a few essential qualities and traits. Without these qualities, it will be difficult to obtain clients, retain clients, build a client base, and remain a coach for very long.
5 Keys to Being a Leadership Coach Who Leads
- Quiet yet active listening. How often have you been in a conversation with a friend, family member, or co-worker, and had the feeling that they were not really listening to you? Happens often, doesn’t it? Would you want your leadership coach to be that kind of listener? No, of course not. You want them to truly listen – to be what is called an active listener. An active listener hears not only the words, but also the tone and inflection in their client’s voice. They also listen with their eyes? Listening with their eyes means that they are watching and getting clues from their client’s body language. To be an active listener, they must be quiet. Not talkative, busy, or erratic, but calm, peaceful, quiet. If your coach is not an active quiet yet active listener, find another coach.
- Creative and extemporaneous. To truly create an environment conducive to improvement, a leadership coach must have a creative and extemporaneous nature. By providing an environment in which the client feels it is safe to explore and question and scrutinize and search, the coach has created a vehicle for development, enhancement, and progress. Be creative, be spontaneous, be extemporaneous and you will be amazed at how much your client will develop.
- Non-judgmental. Leadership coaching is not about telling clients what they do wrong, or even giving them an exact blueprint for how to do things correctly. Coaching involves creating an open and honest environment where the client feels safe to express their emotions, fears, and dreams. Having a non-judgmental attitude does not necessarily mean a coach will never pass judgment, but it does mean that there are no biases and that any judgment that is reached is mutual between the client and the coach and results in finding what is important and relevant.
- Coaching is about the client. It is about their situation, personality, growth, challenges, dreams, and ultimately, their results. Delving completely into your client’s psyche allows you to discover what type of leadership makes them achieve, and what type of leader they can become. It’s not about your practice, your special skill,s the new exercises you learned at the most recent seminar, or the skills you just read about, it is all about the client.
- Trust. A leadership coach must develop trust with a client. Trust is based on your reputation, your skills, your personality, and your connection to the client. Without trust, you have nothing. Without trust, you will eventually have no clients. Without trust, you will not be a leadership coach who leads.
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