We talk a lot about coaching here at Gearing for Growth, including the 1.2.1 and team coaching we offer and the benefits that taking time out to undergo coaching sessions can have on you as a leader and your teams. From increasing confidence and productivity to enhancing focus and improving strategic planning, the advantages of undergoing coaching are endless.
Coaching sessions can take you 90 per cent of the way, giving you the tools and skills to create positive change and lay strong foundations in your company. In order to consistently see transformational growth in your organisation and enable your team to perform dependably at peak and feel engaged, loyal, and supported, consider using a coaching leadership style.
What is a coaching leadership style?
Coaching leadership is a style that supports continuous learning and development through techniques including listening and really understanding, asking good questions, digging deeper, and building empathy. Growing your own self-awareness alongside your belief in your colleagues enables a learning approach rather than a ‘telling and passing information’ method resulting in strong colleague relationships.
A leader who uses a coaching style puts the needs of their team at the forefront, focusing on their personal and professional goals and supporting them to reach these. Leaders using this style focus on getting the best out of their team, playing to everyone’s strengths for the good of everyone in the organisation. They approach leadership with positivity and equality and are open to challenges and constructive feedback.
Key characteristics of a coaching leadership style include:
- Collaborative, not combative
- Supportive, not distant
- Partnership, not a dictatorship
- Trust, not micromanagement
- Creative, not narrow
- Encouraging not disheartening
- Empathetic not apathetic
These coaching leadership style definitions could make the approach appear a daunting prospect. It takes time to develop a coaching leadership style, and initially, this can feel more time-consuming than when simply delegating. When consistently applied, this approach starts to pay off reasonably quickly and soon you will see dividends through your team taking more responsibility, being more proactive, seeking to solve problems and bringing you more solutions and far fewer problems. You’ll also help your team to build confidence and independence, enabling them to take more initiative and potentially stretch themselves.
If you have undergone some coaching for yourself, you could find a lot of the aspects of a coaching leadership style come surprisingly natural to you. When you treat yourself with the respect and patience that we encouraged in one of our recent blogs, you will find it easier to approach your team and colleagues in the same way.
Coaching leadership style disadvantages – are there any?
Establishing a coaching leadership style does take more time and effort than other leadership styles. Taking a person-centred approach and understanding the needs of your team and each of their individual skills, ambitions, potential, and goals involves investing in a structure to enable regular meetings, feedback sessions and an open line of communication.
But if you are looking to grow your business, meet new goals and enjoy a positive work culture putting this time in is essential – without the foundation of a healthy and motivated team, sustained long-term success is not likely. A positive and engaged workforce is key to continued business success and makes a huge difference to how enjoyable work life is for everyone.
Benefits of a coaching leadership style
The advantages of a coaching leadership style far outweigh any downsides. Through nurturing and supporting your team as a strong, confident leader, you empower each individual to take ownership of their goals and strive to exceed these. The trust that is gained through the time you put into your relationship with each team member means you will benefit from strong communication and a workforce that really cares about their role and their responsibilities.
Opening up the dialogue between leaders and team members allows free thinking, in turn boosting brainstorming sessions and increasing effective idea creation. A team that feels respected has a strong individual and collective mindset. They are not afraid to fail, to put themselves out on a limb and to reach for big ideas.
The skills needed to develop a coaching style of leadership?
We recommend that you start by actively listening to your team to really understand what they are dealing with. It is good to initially observe how often you might be driven to jump in and take control of the conversation by asking a question that serves you more than your team member – it is often our natural response.
Also, observe where you are tempted to provide an answer for them or take on the problem yourself. You may feel that is the helpful approach – but we would ask you to reflect on how those actions would help to develop your colleague and also what it says about your belief in your team members' ability to handle the situation – how well do you know what they have tried already for example?
If learning more about a coaching leadership style sounds appealing, but you’re struggling for time or knowing where to start - get in touch.
We can help you implement a coaching leadership style and transform your and your team’s performance and culture. We recommend beginning with one of our coaching options – to find out what will work best for you, drop us a line for an informal chat.
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