What a Leader Coach looks like
An effective Leader Coach adheres to the principles of great coaching. She models coaching in everything she does. Her focus is on building competencies and trust through coaching. A strong Leader Coach understands that she is being paid on how her team performs and not as much on her personal performance. Whenever a leader fails to coach effectively, she is losing an opportunity to help her people develop and grow the business.
A Leader Coach must tailor coaching to the strengths, weaknesses and needs of each individual. Additionally coaching must be aligned with the needs of the organization. In fact, the Leader Coach must understand the core competencies the company has outlined for each position so she can coach each employee to these competencies.
I had a strategy professor in graduate school that explained his experience as a consultant at Bain, a prestigious consulting firm. He shared with me the difference between good and great consultants.
He taught that the baseline to perform as a consultant was to listen to the client. The good consultants would then execute on the strategy and plan. The great consultants added a third dimension. They added value to the client and the firm.
Now think of this in terms of a Leader Coach. The baseline of being a Leader Coach is to learn to listen to the coachee. The good leader coaches can then ask effective questions to help the coachee execute on the corporate strategic plan. The great leader coaches add one important dimension; they have the ability to add value to the coachee by asking catalytic questions, helping the coachee think through smarter solutions and holding the coachee accountable to execute on solutions that add value to the customer and company.
Benefits of the Leader Coach
When a leader coaches her team, she shows that she cares about them. She builds trust because effective coaching requires honesty and candor from both coaching participants. Leaders who consistently coach garner respect from their team members. Likewise the employee feels respected. The leader has an opportunity to demonstrate her competencies and listening skills. Remember when people know you care about and respect them, they will buy into your vision and work harder for you.
Leaders who coach effectively learn to listen. Listening leads to better solutions. When a leader opens up and listens to other’s perspectives, it builds trust. They demonstrate that they can be influenced and others can participate in the decision-making process.
Coaching requires the leader to be more open to suggestions and ideas. This will help the leader as much as the employee. Great Leader Coaches learn to execute on the ideas developed by their team.
It is critical that your team knows your expectations and your vision. These must be communicated clearly and often. One of the top reasons for coaching is it will give you insight into the thinking process of your team members. By listening to them during coaching sessions, you can tell if they understand and buy into your vision. You will know if they understand your expectations. Coaching is a lens into the minds of your people.
When you coach people to grow, develop and improve, you become a more effective leader. The act of helping others benefits you. The trust grows within your team, performance improves and retention increases. This principle is one of the paradoxes of leadership.
As Galileo Galilei said, “One cannot teach a man anything. One can only enable him to learn from within himself.” The best way to do this is through a Leader Coach.
If you would like to learn more about how to be a great Leader Coach, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.