Leadership and Coaching Skills That Help Leaders Thrive

When you hear the words leadership and coaching skills, what comes first into your mind? Do you picture a basketball team with a coach shouting out directions? Or perhaps a football team with a coach pacing to and fro and calling out the names of the players?

Today, coaching is no longer reserved to sports teams; leadership and coaching skill is now one of the key skills in management. Why is coaching popular in business organizations?

Coaching Levels the Playing Field

Coaching is one of the six emotional leadership styles proposed by Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence. As a leadership style, coaching is used when employees in an organization are competent and motivated, but do not have an idea of the long-term goals of the organization. The coaching leader uses two types of coaching: team and individual. Team coaching makes employees in a team or group work together. In a group of individuals, not everyone has or shares the same level of competence, commitment, and motivation to a goal. A group may be a mix of highly competent and moderately competent members with varying levels of commitment and motivation. These differences can cause friction among the members in that group. The coaching leader helps the employees level their expectations and manages differing perspectives so that the common goal succeeds over personal goals and interests. In a big organization, leaders need to align the employees’ personal values and goals with that of the organization so that long-term directions can be pursued.

Coaching Builds Up Confidence and Competence

Individual coaching aims to mentor one-on-one building up the confidence of employees by affirming good performance during regular feedback; and increases competence by helping the employee assess his strengths and weaknesses towards career planning and professional development. Depending on the employee’s level of competence, commitment, and motivation, a leader may coach less-experienced employees more often. Usually, this happens in the case of new staff. The direct supervisor gives more defined tasks and gives regular feedback to the new staff, and gradually lessens the amount of coaching, directing, and supporting roles to favor delegating as competence and confidence increase.

Coaching Promotes Individual and Team Excellence

Excellence is a product of habitual good practice. Regular meetings and constructive feedback are important in establishing habits. Employees learn good habits by constantly assessing themselves for their strengths and areas for improvement and perceiving what knowledge, skills, and attitudes they need to acquire to attain team goals. In the process, they attain individual and team excellence. An example is in the case of a musical orchestra: each musician plays a different instrument and to achieve harmony from the different instruments, players will polish their parts in the piece individually and practice together as an ensemble. Consequently, they improve both individually and within a team as an instrument player.

Coaching Develops High Commitment to Common Goals

A coaching leader balances the attainment of immediate targets with long-term goals towards the vision of his organization. By aligning personal goals with organizational or team goals, the leader ensures that personal interests are kept in check. The coaching leader must constantly communicate the vision through formal and informal conversations until the employees become more inspired and motivated. Setting short-term team goals that are aligned with organizational goals; and making an action plan to attain these goals can help sustain the increased motivation and commitment to common goals of the employees.

Coaching Develops Leadership and Coaching Skills and Produces Valuable Leaders

Leadership by example is important in coaching. A coaching leader loses credibility when he does not practice what he preaches. Hence, he should be well organized, highly competent in his field, communicates openly and encourages feedback, and has a clear idea of the organization’s vision, mission or goals. By vicarious and purposive learning, employees develop leadership and coaching skills and emulate the same good practices from the coaching leader, turning them into coaching leaders themselves. If an employee experiences good coaching, he is most likely to do the same things when entrusted with formal leadership roles.

Final Takeaway: Coaching is just one of the styles of leadership. It can be done in combination with other leadership styles depending on the profile of the organization. Moreover, coaching as a leadership style requires that a leader is physically, emotionally, and mentally fit most of the time since it involves both individual and team coaching. Employees expect a coaching leader to be the last one to give up or bail out in any situation especially during times of crises. A coaching leader must be conscious that coaching entails investing time on each employee, and on the whole team. The responsibilities are greater since the coach is also the leader of an organization who is also developing future coaches as well.

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Jeannie Cotter
Writer, Coaches Training Blog community

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