Leadership Coaching: how to motivate and bring out the best of your employees
Let’s start with a quote of Donald McGannon: leadership is an action, not a position. Our experiences show leadership and coaching go hand in hand, as you’re motivating your team and are unlocking their fullest potential. Positioning yourself as a leader is a different approach than acting as a leader. So take that cup of tea and scroll down.. You’ll find some useful impulses about leadership coaching in this article.
What is leadership coaching?
First things first. You may have heard of leadership coaching before, you may have not. Leadership coaching is all about guidance, support and bringing out the best of your team. This means not being too judgemental or authoritative.
Donald McGannon, who ran the Westinghouse Broadcasting Corporation, shared his definition of leadership in the beautiful quote you just read. And it makes you think, doesn’t it?
There are different leadership styles like democratic leadership or even authoritative leadership. It all depends on what sort of leadership matches your personality and approach.
Coaching is a skill. It’s something you must learn and control before using it. Yes, that can take some time, but with the right program you can be trained to become a coach.
While leadership coaching may not be for everyone, it definitely offers some pros to the workplace.
Next to developing professionally, a benefit of leadership coaching is that it can help your employees to grow on a personal level.
As a coach, you will identify the strengths and weaknesses of each member of your team. Through conversations, guidance and collaboration your team members will learn to use their strengths and improve their weaknesses in time.
In the long run, this can help to create new opportunities and develop creative solutions.
Difference between leadership coaching and leadership mentoring
Leadership coaching and leadership mentoring overlap in many areas. However, there is a difference between the two.
Mentoring focuses on sharing similar experiences, knowledge and advice. It is all about developing yourself and growing as you learn.
Coaching on the other hand, does give you a certain direction but will mainly focus on guidance. Just think of it this way, a coach will ask questions instead of giving all the answers themselves. They will listen to you instead of talking about their own experiences.
So in a nutshell: a mentor has answers for your questions, but a coach will do the opposite. They will ask questions based on the answers you give.
How to coach your team?
The question you’ve been waiting for.. You now know what leadership coaching is and what the difference is between mentoring and coaching. But the question we think you really want to have answered is, how to coach your team?
Coaching your team
Our experience shows that having an open, transparent organizational culture will help with coaching your team. Especially when applying the leadership coaching style.
What we’re not going to do is to share a list of our past experiences, because as you know, that would be more mentoring style. However, what we can do is giving you a list of things that we have experienced can help you with coaching your team:
- Emphasize: by emphasizing with other team members you will gain trust, create interaction and have an understanding of their situations. It will help you to connect with members on a personal level, this will help to create an open minded work culture and will awaken a great team spirit.
- Earn trust: don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. A lot of people don’t ask for feedback after they’ve finished a project. Without feedback there is no room for learning and that means not for growing either. The same goes for coaching, just do it! Ask your team how you are perceived and performing and what it is you can work on, so you can develop yourself as a coach and earn trust.
- Discover their strengths: every team member brings uniqueness and something special. Sometimes, they are not even aware of it themselves. By interacting with colleagues and asking them questions, you can discover more about their personality, way of working but also about their strengths (and weaknesses). This allows you to coach them in the right way.
- Staying positive: a positive attitude will help to fuel performance and especially, to motivate people. By coaching your employees with a positive attitude, obstacles will be handled with a different approach. So if we ask the question: how to motivate and bring out the best of your employees? Positivity is key, besides the right coaching approach, of course.
Coaching behavior: how to be a coaching leader?
How should you behave as a coach? We’ve already talked about some tips and skills for coaching leadership management, but there are also a few essential ways of behavior you should have as a coach.
Our Leadership Coaching Tips
- Be your authentic self. Every coach has a different leadership coaching style. Feel and explore what comes natural to you and work from there.
- Trustworthy. Important in life, but also important as a coach. This means never talking badly about any of your employees. It also means they can tell you their stories and worries in confidence.
- Keep learning. You’ve probably heard of the saying: never stop learning, because life never stops teaching. It’s true on a personal and professional level, there will always be challenges. Besides, you can’t expect your employees to keep learning and growing if you are not doing the same. So follow courses, read books and keep educating yourself.