The Importance of a Coaching Approach to Leadership
While the pandemic may finally be showing signs of slowing, the Great Resignation, unfortunately, continues. Employees are tired of being micromanaged and told what to do.
As a result, they feel trapped in their careers and see little opportunity for growth. Now more than ever, leaders are being called to coach their employees, thereby supporting development, engagement, and trust between themselves and those whom they lead.
American entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “Managers help people see themselves as they are. Leaders help people to see themselves better than they are.”
And it’s true. Being a manager of people is a vital role in any organization, no matter what level it comes from – executive, middle management, team leader, etc.
Managing people involves so much more than just directing them to do this or do that. You have to be a leader and, to be a leader, you need to know how to coach.
The fact is, most executives and managers don’t know how to coach their employees. Being an empathetic listener is great, and the ability to pass along knowledge is important, too. However, a leader needs to know how to guide and motivate their employees, as opposed to just telling them what to do. They need to know how to actually lead.
Leaders need to reinvent themselves as coaches whose job it is to draw energy, creativity, and learning out of the people with whom they work.
“No longer can managers simply command and control. Nor will they succeed by rewarding team members mainly for executing flawlessly on things they already know how to do. Instead, with full institutional support, they need to reinvent themselves as coaches whose job it is to draw energy, creativity, and learning out of the people with whom they work,” shared Herminia Ibarra and Anne Scoular in their HBR article.
Coaching is a skill that can be learned, practiced, and improved upon over time. And learning how to be a good coach for your team is not only an investment in you as a leader but, ultimately, in your employees as well. They, too, will be able to reap the benefits of your improved coaching skills.
Open and clear communication is a key factor in becoming a better coach and, therefore, a better leader.
Monique Valcour, an executive coach and management professor, shared that “the most powerfully motivating condition people experience at work is making progress at something that is personally meaningful,” in her HBR article. And this can be accomplished with leaders who coach.
The single most important managerial competency that separates highly effective managers from average ones is coaching.
“Regular communication around development — having coaching conversations — is essential. In fact, according to recent research, the single most important managerial competency that separates highly effective managers from average ones is coaching,” she continued.
While many leaders and managers say they don’t have time for coaching, it’s important that they understand that the benefits of coaching are truly crucial to the successful growth of their people and, ultimately, to that of the organization.
Employees need leaders who can guide them, help develop their skills, encourage them, and show them how they’re valued within the organization. They need to be proactive and prepared. All of this can be learned and accomplished through coaching, and this is the crux of the coaching approach to leadership.
Supporting your team’s development is an essential component of being a leader. By taking a coaching approach to your leadership, you empower employees to discover and deliver better results than could have been dictated. It allows for exponential growth in the team and the organization.