How many hats are you wearing right now? No, I don’t mean literally. You may be reading this on the tube. Wearing lots of hats would be weird.
But what about when you’re at work? You wear multiple hats every day – and as a leader, you whip them on and off with remarkable frequency.
One minute you’re an expert, the next you’re a leader and later that same day, you put on a mentor hat. Then you’re a manager – still the expert, but managing other experts at the same time.
Expert > leader> mentor> manager. All are important, although you may have noticed that I’ve left one out: coach.
Are your leaders skilled coaches? In this article, I’ll explore 3 reasons why a coaching leadership style benefits your organisation’s people, processes and ultimately, its bottom line.
Benefit #1: Talent retention
As I write, `The Great Resignation’ is in full swing. In our post-pandemic world, people over 30 years old are resigning en masse – a 22% increase compared to last year. For those over 40, it’s an alarming 25.1%.
In short, talented staff are leaving their jobs faster than you can say `I quit’. The traditional command-and-control management style no longer cuts it. They’re seeking more enlightened employers – organisations which do the following:
- Encourage initiative and problem-solving
- Treat them as intelligent individuals
- Make them feel nurtured, supported and empowered
Coaching leaders deliver what today’s talent needs and expects. It’s the polar opposite of command-and-control. Rather than telling, your leaders promote independence by helping people find solutions for themselves. For employees, this is inspirational.
Once a leader has developed coaching skills, there’s a ripple effect as the style is passed to leadership colleagues. Your organisation quickly becomes a go-to employer – a workplace which supports, develops and invests in its people.
Benefit #2: Greater efficiency
Coaching is more than simply a nice conversation. It’s practical, bottom-line efficiency.
Let’s imagine that a team member has started missing deadlines. They’ve begun to shirk responsibility, they avoid challenging tasks and blame others for mistakes. They are failing the team and ultimately, the organisation as a whole.
What do you do?
Coach them. Ask open questions, listen actively and mindfully, and open up the issue from a fresh angle.
With time and space to explore the question, your team member will discover that they already have the answer. They take ownership of the obstacle and the means to overcome it.
Micro-managing won’t be necessary. The solution belongs to them, so there is automatic buy-in. They will take responsibility for committing to their own action points.
It’s not surprising that management resignations have been rampant over the last 18 months. We’re all suffering quite enough stress. Why add work to the disaster movie mix?
Leadership is hard. Everyone comes to you for the answers. It’s like carrying a monkey around on your back, all day every day. Through coaching, you get that pesky monkey off your back.
Let me explain:
As a traditional leader, you give people instructions for solving problems. When those instructions fail to work (as they’re bound to occasionally), the buck stops with you and the monkey gets even heavier.
Put simply, most leaders are doing too much `doing’.
As a coaching leader, you hand over the monkey. Your team members gladly take on the `doing’ responsibility because they’ve been empowered to make their own decisions and learn from their mistakes.
The end result? Your organisation develops its employees to be the best they can be. Goals are achieved, targets are consistently met and the company’s profits rise in tandem with its reputation.
Back to the hats…
Being a coaching leader isn’t simply a question of how. It’s also about knowing when to coach.
The coaching hat is not always appropriate.
Sometimes, the manager must be firmly and decisively in charge. At other times, you’ll be the go-to expert or an advice-giving mentor and then later, the inspirational leader with a clear vision and strategy.
But here’s the important thing:
Today’s leaders need to be effective coaches. On the numerous occasions when coaching leadership is necessary, these skills will be crucial to the growth, accountability and practical efficiency of your workforce.
As a coach with more than 20 years’ commercial experience, I’ve designed my Coaching for Leaders course to pass on these essential coaching skills to your front-line leaders. They will leave with all the tools necessary to become insightful, empowering coaches.
Are you ready to book the course? Get in touch here.