Developing Leaders and Teams
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Leader as Coach
Many organisations are reluctant to embrace the concept of Leader as Coach. Internal coaching programmes are often seen as complicated to implement, hard to manage politically, and difficult to evaluate. So why take the resources — and the risks — to launch an internal coaching programme?
There are many reasons why, but perhaps the strongest of them all is: it develops the leadership skills of the coach.
Okay, you say, nice idea in principle, but it won’t work because:
- Our leaders are much too busy to coach. Even if they agree at first, this will quickly fall to the bottom of their priorities list.
- Our leaders don’t know how to coach. Whether they realise it or not, they are pretty directive. They’re not likely to give this up because it works for them.
- Our leaders think they are already coaching. They won’t see the value of participating in an internal coaching programme.
But what if these assumptions aren’t quite right? Here are some frequently cited reasons that leaders ARE interested in getting trained and acting as an internal coach:
- Benchmarking : “There’s been so much written in the business press about Leader as Coach. It sounds like a best practice for leading people, so I probably should be doing this – but do I have time? ”
There’s unquestionably a time investment required, but leaders are willing to do it if they can see the benefits for themselves and the organisation.
- “One of the biggest complaints in my 360 degree feedback results is that I micro-manage. I know this and I’d like to learn another way to ensure I get the results I want. “
Part of the training involves understanding when a coaching approach is most useful. Learning coaching skills doesn’t mean the leader has to stop using their current style, but rather identifying when a coaching approach can be most useful.
- “I think I’m already a pretty good coach, but I have a reputation as being too directive, and I’d like to change that”.
Getting trained and acting as an internal coach will provide additional clarity on their impact. It gives the leader the coaching skills, confidence, and the opportunity practice with a different approach — without the direct pressure to get business results that he/she may feel when working with a direct report.
- “We’re losing high potentials left and right. How can we engage and challenge them so they stay?”
An internal coaching programme with leaders as coaches sends a powerful message. It says that the organisation is truly committed to developing, retaining, and empowering their key talent – whether that talent takes the role of coach or coachee.