The ever-evolving work environment of today has added a new dimension to leadership. As per a Gartner research, 90% of Human Resource leaders know that success today depends on a leader’s ability to rank the human facets of leadership. This brings us to the basic question of what leadership is.
As per Chester Bernanrd, leadership is the behavioral quality of a person where they guide people in their daily activities through organized effort.
Today, quality leadership is essential for the success of a company. It is important irrespective of the size or management level of the company. Learning about the different leadership theories which suit you and what is the significance of adapting coaching leadership mindset. Read on to find out how coaching leadership can help you emerge as a strong and resilient leader.
Different Leadership Theories
Leadership is the capacity of an individual or a group to inspire and direct their followers or members of an organization, society, or team. While leadership is often associated with titles, seniority, or hierarchical positions, it is not limited to those factors. It is a quality that anyone can possess or cultivate, regardless of their position. Leadership is a skill that can be honed and enhanced through continuous development.
Effective leaders demonstrate certain characteristics, including self-confidence, excellent communication and management abilities, a creative and innovative mindset, perseverance, a willingness to take calculated risks, adaptability to change, level headedness, and responsiveness during challenging situations or crises. These traits contribute to the effectiveness of a leader in guiding and influencing others.
The fact of how people became leaders and what traits contribute to a good leader has been a discussion for centuries. Initially, it was ruled by the Great Man Theory, stating that leadership involves natural and unique abilities. However, the recent theories of the 20th-century state otherwise:
- Trait theory: It involves the idea that often people are born with characteristics that make them exceptional leaders such as perseverance, confidence, and integrity.
- Behavioral theory: The focus lies on particular actions and behaviors of leaders and not their traits. It simply means that leadership involves learning several new skills, such as technical, conceptual, and human abilities.
- Contingency theory: It involves several variables in a particular setting determining your leadership style suited for the mentioned situation. It states that leadership is all about finding the right balance between requirements, context, and behaviors.
This brings us to yet another kind of mindset which practitioners are practicing: the coaching leadership mindset
Coaching leadership mindset: In this fast-paced world, most psychologists suggest choosing a coaching mindset. It helps leech their goals by embracing an innovative way of thinking, seeing, and functioning. It helps individuals see the situation with a new perspective, broadening their viewpoint while looking for solutions. With a coaching mindset, leaders influence the people they are leading and also bring long-lasting change. 80% of companies working with a coaching leadership mindset outperform.
Adapting a coaching mindset helps bring out one’s own skills instead of following any pre-described theories.
Keeping these theories in mind, it is important to identify your leadership style first and then follow it.
How can coaching help you to identify your leadership style?
Gaining an understanding of prevalent leadership styles and their components is just a starting point in developing your unique leadership approach. Consider these three approaches to further enhance your knowledge and identify your style.
- Develop self-awareness
You can become an efficient leader by knowing yourself. With reliable reflection and self-evaluation with tools used by coaches like the Myers-Briggs test– you can gain a better understanding of your strengths and flaws and develop higher self-awareness.
Research reveals that leaders with better self-awareness play their roles more effectively, enjoy better work relationships, and state reduced stress.
2. Consider your essential duties as a leader
Assessing your leadership functions is the second aspect of developing your personal leadership style. There are two practices to discover in leadership principles:
- Direction and structure: The behaviors you use to mobilize your people and effectively communicate jobs that must be done.
- Development and support: The behaviors you show to rally people and offer instructional supervision.
Utilizing self-assessment is vital in determining your position on the spectrum between these two sets of practices. This self-awareness empowers you to adapt your leadership approach to varying business challenges and identify areas that require strengthening to enhance your effectiveness in your role.
While self-assessment is a great way to identify your leadership style, coaching helps an individual identify their leadership self more effectively and precisely. Coaching allows leaders to recognize their leadership patterns and acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses and work on them to set up examples for others. It helps leaders look for solutions for challenging situations, see what’s not working, and why the problem has occurred. Moreover, it allows individuals to embrace different viewpoints and adopt better ways of thinking, thinking, and working to accomplish desired results.
Coaching helps leaders overcome their fears and helps transform their present skills for the better.
The Institute of Coaching stated that more than 70% of people who underwent coaching saw improved work performance, better work relations, and enhanced communication abilities. Incorporating coaching into your leadership style can help your team and company to enhance culture, team satisfaction, and productivity. Here are some coaching skills to help you identify your leadership style and upskill as a leader:
A significant number of leaders have acknowledged a notable growth in their self-awareness. They have expressed a greater understanding of themselves, including their self-concept, and have gained valuable insights into how their actions and behaviors influence others. This heightened self-awareness has contributed to their overall improvement as leaders.
Furthermore, these leaders have shared that their self-confidence has significantly grown. They have experienced a notable reduction in self-limiting thoughts and beliefs, allowing them to approach challenges and opportunities with a greater sense of confidence in their abilities.
Leaders acknowledged that as they engaged in self-development, deepened their self-awareness, and gained self-confidence, they also became more attuned to their own self-leadership. They recognized the importance of how they lead themselves and the standards they set for themselves, which became a focal point of their coaching journey. Through coaching, some participants discovered unrealistic expectations they had set for themselves. With the guidance of their coach, they learned to cultivate self-compassion and self-acceptance, leading to enhanced self-leadership abilities.
Significance of recognizing your leadership style
Every leadership style has its set of pros and cons and hence it is important to follow a specific one that aligns with your company’s and team’s goal. Here are some significance of recognizing your leadership style:
- Understanding your leadership style is of great importance. It exists even if you believe you don’t have a specific style. The journey to comprehend it begins with an honest self-assessment of your approach to management tasks and interactions with your team and then coaching for it accordingly.
- Once you have identified your leadership style, you can better understand how to motivate and effectively communicate with your employees.
- This awareness enables you to make sound decisions and handle unexpected challenges more effectively.
- It empowers you to mobilize teams and provide meaningful support to those in need.
Just as exceptional athletes seek out exceptional coaches, outstanding individuals desire to work under leaders who coach them to reach their full potential and foster their own coaching abilities. So, what does it mean to perceive leadership as coaching? We have developed the acronym COACH to encapsulate how today’s leaders should engage with their teams. As a coaching leader, it is crucial to
- C- Care for your teammates
- O- Organize them in roles that suit their strengths
- A- Align them with the organization’s purpose and values
- C- Challenge them to reach their highest potential
- H- Help them achieve their individual goals.
How can coaching help you work on your employee’s strengths, weaknesses, and growth areas?
Care: Develop Understanding and Trust
In the present times, individuals are unwilling to fully invest themselves in their work until they perceive that their leader genuinely cares about them as whole beings—mind, body, and spirit. They yearn for a personal connection with their leader before committing wholeheartedly to their jobs. This necessitates leaders to offer a level of accessibility, transparency, and depth that was once considered unconventional.
Based on our observations in various organizations and educational settings, many leaders from the current generation exhibit hesitancy in opening up to their employees and prefer to engage with their direct reports primarily. However, this approach increasingly proves to be a liability since today’s employees expect connection and authenticity from their leaders. They have a keen ability to detect insincerity within seconds and have no interest in collaborating with individuals who lack genuineness. Therefore, coaching leaders must demonstrate right from the start that they genuinely care about their teams, not just in terms of overall performance but also concerning individuals’ well-being within their work lives.
For example, Marilyn Carlson Nelson, the CEO of Carlson Companies, a renowned hospitality and travel company, transformed the company culture by personally exemplifying her genuine care for employees. She emphasizes the significance of satisfied employees in creating happy customers, as discerning customers quickly grasp whether they are genuinely cared for in the service industry.
Organize: Help Teams Find Their Sweet Spot
The second responsibility of a leader as a coach is to comprehensively understand their team members’ strengths, weaknesses, motivations, and desires. Armed with this knowledge, they strategically organize their team so that each individual operates within their “sweet spot,” where their strengths and intrinsic motivations converge. When people work in their sweet spot, they feel inspired, energized, fulfilled, and passionate about their jobs, leading to successful outcomes.
To establish a culture focused on the sweet spot, leaders need to engage directly with their team members rather than remaining secluded in an office or conference room. Moreover, coaching leaders actively participate in the marketplace, observing how their team members utilize their strengths to address customer needs and desires by receiving their feedback and input.
While direct interactions hold significant importance such as face-to-face meetings, their impact multiplies when combined with real-time data collection through employee surveys. The survey results validate what leaders observe in daily interactions and provide valuable insights for making informed decisions. This enables the creation of an empowered and well-organized team where everyone leverages their strengths to their fullest potential.
Align: Team People with a Common Goal and Vision
Among the various responsibilities of a leader as a coach, aligning employees with the purpose and values of the company presents the most significant challenge. In many large organizations, individuals struggle to connect their personal purpose with the broader purpose of the organization. For numerous employees, it becomes difficult to relate to enterprise-wide goals that may appear lofty or detached from their day-to-day responsibilities. The leader’s role is to breathe life into these statements and make the company’s purpose and values relevant to every employee’s work.
Jim Whitehurst, the former CEO of Red Hat, an open-source software company, successfully rallied employees around the organization’s open-source mission and the fervor for transparency and openness. Whitehurst believes that employees will not go the extra mile if they are solely motivated by a paycheck. However, when they believe in a purpose beyond profitability, they will wholeheartedly dedicate themselves to the cause.
By effectively communicating and embodying the company’s purpose and values, leaders as coaches can inspire employees to find meaning in their work, leading to greater engagement and commitment.
Challenge: Make People Reach Their Best
Just as exceptional athletes and accomplished leaders actively seek out coaches to unlock their full potential, employees and emerging leaders also desire the same. They are not seeking leaders who will make things easy; instead, they yearn for challenges. They want to work under leaders like Kevin Sharer, former CEO of Amgen, who emphasized the importance of providing employees with honest and constructive feedback, establishing high-performance standards, setting measurable goals to track progress, and conducting reality-based, results-focused operating reviews.
Acting as coaches, leaders must be comfortable pushing individuals beyond their comfort zones to facilitate personal and professional growth. By doing so, not only do they enhance performance, but they also cultivate future leaders. Employees and younger leaders thrive when they are stretched and given opportunities to develop; through this process, they can reach their full potential.
Help: Resolve Issues and Reward for Success
In the past, executives followed a command-and-control management style where they formulated strategies, established structures and processes, and then delegated tasks to subordinates for implementation. They would subsequently evaluate performance based on numerical outcomes. However, this hands-off approach is no longer effective in today’s leadership landscape. Leaders are no longer positioned as judges but rather as colleagues.
Coaching leaders take a more hands-on approach by personally engaging with employees in their work environment. They assist them in exploring different options and finding solutions to complex problems. Coaching leaders actively participate in award ceremonies or sales meetings in moments of success to acknowledge and celebrate individuals for their achievements. Roy Vagelos, during his tenure as CEO of Merck, exemplified this approach by regularly dining in the company cafeteria. He would engage employees in conversations about their work and challenges and often reached out afterwards to offer his ideas and assistance in solving their problems.
The coaching style for leaders has proven to be a game-changer. Leaders should get proper coaching to reach their goals. Reaching sustainable results is important, or your team member will soon get bored with your repetitive practices and tactics. When you talk about coaching, you don’t have one-size-fits-all tactics. And no other than uExcelerate offers you a better coaching solution. The coaches here assess individuals and the environment around them and help them understand their strengths and weaknesses, leading to better personal and team performance, higher retention, and improved productivity.
Using its leadership development coaching program, you can bring in all the elements of empathy, agility, and innovation together and shift from traditional to modern leadership. The program further empowers leaders to create an environment of engaged employees who can handle any challenge thrown at them with their smart ideas to stand ahead in the competition. So, pick a suitable leadership development program for yourself and drive your team and organization towards its goal.The PACE coaching program is one of the ideal options that you can go for. It helps break self-limiting patterns for yourself and the system. Backed with time-proven methodologies and cutting-edge research, the program is your one-stop solution to meet your diverse leadership development requirements.