Cultivating Your "Leader Coaching" Skills
By Workforce Architects, LLC
Leaders have a variety of roles they play - visionary, strategist, motivator, director, negotiator, performance manager, deliverer of tough messages, etc. One role that many effective leaders are now cultivating for greater effectiveness in today's complex work world is that of a "Coach".
With five different generations in the workforce and a wide range of values, interests, and needs, the successful leader understands the need to elevate their leadership skills to the next level. Along with traditional leader roles, they are adding the valuable competency of "coaching" to their leader toolkit. This facilitates employee development and enhances their overall ability to achieve organizational goals.
Here are a few of the benefits of becoming a "Leader Coach":
- You work more in a collaborative mode with others which builds trust and decreases micromanagement and overly controlling behaviors.
- Your focus is on developing others so they are more independent, can take on more responsibility, and assume greater accountability.
- You promote innovation and resourcefulness in others, adding to their own personal value and overall worth to the organization.
- You have more time to acquire new skills yourself and to plan and strategize on other priority areas that need your attention.
That being said, to what degree are you a leader coach? Following is a quick self-assessment that will give insight around leader coaching qualities/behaviors you exhibit. This self-assessment is non-scientific and its intent is to heighten your awareness around your strengths and improvement areas to address.
Be candid with your answers so you get an accurate gauge about your leader coaching skills. On a separate sheet of paper, write down the number that corresponds to each statement below using the following scale:
5 = Very Often
4 = Often
3 = Sometimes
2 = Rarely
1 = Not At All
As a leader I...
- _____ Balance the need for learning & development of others with the need for results.
- _____ Seek ideas, opinions, insight, & feedback from others.
- _____ Ask thought provoking questions that help others figure out things for themselves.
- _____ Promote mentoring and partnering for developmental purposes.
- _____ Listen for understanding vs. listening just enough so I can provide direction.
- _____ Am proactive & look for growth opportunities for others & myself.
- _____ Make time for career & development meetings with others separate from performance meetings.
- _____ Empower & build trust with others by delegating responsibility to promote development.
- _____ Celebrate big & incremental successes to motivate & give recognition to others.
- _____ Interact with each team member based on their needs vs. using the same approach for all.
Once you have completed the assessment, pay close attention to areas where your rating is 1, 2, or 3. These ratings indicate you should take more focused and consistent action to practice some or all of the steps above. For even greater insight, ask a few trusted confidantes (those who are familiar with your leader skills/behaviors) to rate you in these areas. It may be interesting to compare their ratings with yours.
While building your leader coaching skills will take some concentrated effort, taking the time to do so will position you for greater leader success in a dynamic, complex, and demanding work world.