“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” – Jack Welch
Leadership is a relationship rather than an individual act. It requires a coach-like leader who is aware and can instill a sense of purpose in themselves and others. A leader with such a profile can foster true collaboration and better engagement in teams and individuals, leading to effectively and efficiently reaching an organization’s vision and mission as well as incorporating them within its values. A leader with a coach-like profile becomes a facilitator of creativity, productivity and continuous development, therefore creating fundamental shifts and transformations in an organization.
Here are the key skills and benefits to having a coach-like leader profile:
Asking Powerful Questions
Powerful questions are open-ended and would start with “what” or “how” rather than with “why”. Starting a question with “what” or “how” instantly puts judgment or criticism on the side, focusing instead on facts. It creates a positive approach that leads to a deep understanding of an issue and what created it, sprouting action points towards goals and solutions, rather than focusing on the “why” and getting stuck in the excuse. For example, instead of asking “Why was the project not delivered on time?” ask, “What stopped the project from being delivered on time?” And remaining curious by asking another powerful question, “How could we prevent this from happening again in the future?” You could then ask, “What changes to the process do we need to implement to ensure proper reporting?” and “How can I support you better moving forward?”
This skill invites awareness and deep reflection that could help with searching and finding solutions to problems. This leads to the empowerment of teams and the individuals within them and their ability to make decisions and take risks. This increases confidence levels that would bring more potential into the workplace, resulting in resilient, assertive and self-reliant employees, who would take greater responsibility and accountability for their actions and commitments.
Deep Listening Skills
Being a present and curious listener, and keeping engaged in a conversation without judgment, can lead to a whole new level of meaningful and insightful connections.
Being a present and curious listener, and keeping engaged in a conversation without judgment, can lead to a whole new level of meaningful and insightful connections. Deep listening does not just mean listening attentively to the words that are being said, but to the emotions underneath them. Observing things like body language, pauses between words and changes in pitch can make a listener more emotionally intelligent and available with the capacity to recognize the emotions of their own as well as in others. Using this information can guide their thinking and behavior. For example, saying, “I heard the hesitation in your voice when you agreed to my suggestion, I am curious to hear if you had other ideas that you might have for a solution.” Noticing such emotion and acting on it could reveal ideas that would not have been apparent if it was not picked up.
Clearing of Assumptions
One of the major issues in organizations is the lack, or even the absence, of transparent and clear communication between co-workers, leading them to make strong assumptions that are not necessarily based on the truth. Believing those assumptions without the curiosity and courage to validate them could create a space of misunderstanding, disengagement, and withdrawal. For example, saying, “I have noticed that for the past few days you have been avoiding me. I have assumed that you are upset with me. Is this true?” It requires courage to seek the truth and trust to let go of our assumptions that we blindly believed in that, in most cases, could be inaccurate. If the answer is no, then the assumption is cleared. But, if the answer is yes, continuing to be curious and asking, “What made this happen?” and “How could I be more considerate to you next time?” brings clarity to the situation and allows a new level of connection and trust to emerge in a relationship that is more collaborative and productive.
Coach-like leaders don’t create followers; they create aspiring and thriving leaders.
A leader with a coach-like profile is fully aware that nothing happens in isolation, and power lies in aligned and united forces. This mindset makes a leader an influencer for creating better relationships in the workplace. Modeling effective communication skills, the allowance to learn from their surroundings and bringing out the best in themselves and others are ways that a leader could make a profound impact on the professional development of an entire team as well as the individuals within it. Coach-like leaders don’t create followers; they create aspiring and thriving leaders.
“As human beings, we are not problems waiting to be solved, but potential waiting to unfold.” – Frédéric Laloux