Today in Washington, and corporations, and families, we are suffering terribly from a shortage of good leaders, and no one can have a more direct impact on this sorry state than leadership coaches. If you are interested in helping to fix this problem, become a leadership coach. Here is how.
Coaching Comes First
Leadership coaching is an area of specialization within coaching, so your first step is to become trained as a skill coach. I strongly recommend mastering assessment, strategy and accountability coaching, since this will best equip you to assist your client throughout the course of your relationship. Assessment coaching is particularly important because it can give you deep insights into your client’s personality style, values and basic skills even before you actually meet. This has two benefits: first it saves you a tremendous amount of time, and second, it can give you instant credibility since it makes you seem clairvoyant to your client. Beyond this, I would train with a program based on strong science, and with a ton of coaching and being coached built into the curriculum.
Understanding Leadership Comes Second
For all the lack of leadership, there are a lot of books on the subject. John Maxell, along with James Kouzes and Barry Posner, Kerry Patterson and Jim Collins are all thought leaders in this area and can set a good foundation for new leadership coaches. Be a little guarded about books entitles “Leadership Secrets of…” everyone from the Buddha to Attila the Hun.
From the point of view of practical application, leadership is about vision, values, communications and consistent action. Leaders have to have a compelling vision of the future that resonates with the motives of their followers. Leaders have to be able to clearly communicate their vision to their followers. Leaders have to demonstrate values that unite their followers. And finally leaders must consistently act in a way that “walks their talk.”
Leadership Coaches Go One Step Further
Leadership coaches combine their knowledge of coaching and their knowledge of leadership to help the would-be leader to understand their leadership style, formulate their vision and objectives, effectively communicate their message, and demonstrate their commitment through consistent action. In short they help the client become a leader and lead. Remember though, the action of the followers is the measure of leadership success. If your client thinks they are a leader, but when they look over their shoulder there is no one there following, they are not a leader. They are just a guy out taking a walk.
JTS Advisors Strategy and Accountability Coach