Leadership coaching is a process of continuous improvement. The goal of leadership coaching is to help leaders identify and address their blind spots, which make them less effective in the world. This is done through a variety of different exercises, assessments, and discussions with coaches. Some people might say that this makes great leadership coaches similar to therapists--and they're not necessarily wrong! But there are many qualities that set these two professions apart from one another.
Let's look at how coaches can help leaders perform, deliver and execute better.
1) Problem-solving vs. problem finding - The best coaches are great problem solvers who ask questions that lead to solutions. They help their clients see where things need to be improved through techniques like Socratic Questioning (an art in itself), and then they help their clients solve the problems. They continuously engage with people in ways that lead to progress.
2) Leaders seek out coaching - When a leader reaches out for help, it usually means they have hit a wall or are making little progress. Less effective leaders may be unaware of this barrier; therefore, they would not seek out coaching. Poor leaders are not motivated to change, and the same goes for managers who feel threatened by the idea of changing how they lead. The most effective leaders know that they have blind spots that can hurt their effectiveness. They realize that everyone has them, including themselves. These types of leaders actively seek out coaches because they want to grow and improve. They are willing to take the discomfort of change in order to become more effective in reaching their goals.
3) Leaders seek out feedback - Great leaders not only seek out coaching, but they also work to understand what people are telling them by gathering feedback from their peers and employees. Feedback helps leaders learn how other people perceive them, which can help them better self-reflect and grow.
4) Leadership coaches are not therapists - There are many times when leaders suppress emotions that they do not know how to deal with. That's because the best coaching focuses on positive energy and action, while therapy is more about introspection. Coaches also possess different skills in helping people understand themselves, while therapists have more experience helping people understand their emotions. Some coaching techniques are similar to therapy, but a coach does not have the skills to help you unpack your baggage and process it. Therapy is a necessary part of leadership development in some instances, but coaches are not therapists.
5) Leadership coaches do not judge - Coaches do not judge the content of what is discussed in a coaching session. They are not there to help their clients feel comfortable; they are there to help their clients change for the better. Only the client can determine if a particular content area should be part of the coaching conversation.
Leadership coaches can be a great resource for leaders who are looking to improve their performance, delivery and execution. The best leadership coaching is centered around providing positive energy and actionable steps that lead to progress. A coach does not judge the content of what is discussed during sessions; they only provide feedback about how your actions may affect others or help you grow as a professional.
This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links but it won't cost you any more.