Coaching is an Expected Competency of Leaders
“I know of no single formula for success. But over the years I have observed that some attributes of leadership are universal and are often about finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm and their inspiration to work together.” Queen Elizabeth II
These words reflect the experience of the second oldest leader in the world who, at the age of 92, has served as a queen of 4 countries for 52 years. Her long experience has given her wisdom that leadership is more than just being smart, analytic, determined, and tough. The challenge of living up to the standards of traditional leadership for many years has brought her to the realisation that the critical aspect of effective leadership does not rely on human intellect but on the power of human emotions.
Although such skills associated with traditional leadership have their roles to play, data gathered by research and supported by scholarly studies indicates that emotional intelligence (EI) is a major factor in leadership effectiveness and success. The research done among 200 global companies by psychologist and author, Daniel Goleman, revealed that effective leaders and outstanding leadership performances are marked by a high degree of EI that sets such leaders apart from others.
Coaching is one of the key competencies of emotional intelligence. Coaching is included in the social competence cluster under the heading of relationship management. In synergy with other EI competencies, coaching plays a critical role in leadership because a leader not only leads but also manages those under him or her. This emotional capacity may not seem important in a corporate world marked by the technicalities of a rigid system, but over the past six years researchers have tied coaching leadership to intangible ROIs such as higher morale, inspired motivation, and deeper commitment among the workforce.
So, why does coaching, as a competency, play a critical role in effective leadership?
Coaching enhances self-awareness in leaders.
Good leaders understand why they do what they do. Good coaches do not isolate themselves from what they are practicing. They also dig into themselves to unearth who they really are — their intentions, biases, struggles, fears, weaknesses, strengths — to effectively manage themselves and fully utilise their potential.
Leaders who coach are good directors.
They can provide the big picture of a system hich everyone is a part of. They know which person fits which part so that individual and organisational goals are aligned. They are keen at discerning reactions, spotting impending conflicts and adept at handling emotions as a result of which they can navigate interactions towards positive directions. Despite interpersonal differences and varying points of view, a leader with coaching competency can rally people behind a common cause and direct them towards a common goal.
Leaders who coach develop others.
Coaching is a vital competency in developing others. It gives the leaders the capacity to enable those under them to:
• identify their blind spots, pinpoint their weaknesses, and discover other areas that hinder them from moving forward;
• unearth their buried potentials through assigned challenges that expand the limits of their perceived horizons;
• bring into the open their perceptions about themselves, the people around them and their work; and
• determine what their developmental needs are.
Leaders who coach deeply listen not only to verbal but also to non-verbal messages to draw out people’s hopes, dreams and what matters most to them. Their probing, pertinent, and well-thought-through questions open a clear window into their employees’ minds to discover who they really are. Leading people to be in touch with themselves translates into positive behavioural changes, gives a focused view on what they need to accomplish and reveals the most practical way they can best contribute to the achievement of a goal.
Coaching enables leaders to make their lives a legacy.
Effective leadership leaves behind a legacy that positively influences others even long after it is over — the legacy of principles written in the hearts of others by a life that lived them out. The life of a leader as a coach serves as a model for others in the pursuit of their life’s purpose. It is in this context that leadership through coaching becomes more than just a great program or a tested curriculum passed on from one user to another. It evolves into a life that is a catalyst of positive change not only in one’s self but also in other persons’ lives. A great leader’s light does not die when it fades, for it lives on in the hearts it has ignited.
“The task of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.” John Buchan
“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” Ken Blanchard
“I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.” Mahatma Gandhi
“If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever.” Thomas Aquinas
To learn more about coaching contact the Australian Institute of Professional Coaches on 1300 309 360 or email [email protected]. We look forward to speaking with you soon.