Contributed by Christine Tao – Co-founder and CEO, Sounding Board.
There’s so much going on in today’s fast-evolving workplace, especially when you’re expected to lead a team. From setting priorities to creating a high performing team, the daily grind can sometimes overshadow what leaders should be doing, which is to motivate, inspire, and set the direction and the example.
Taking the time to develop excellent leadership skills through the help of a coach can transform your team as well as your company.
Coaching is a great way to help key stakeholders become more self-aware and develop new ways of thinking about their leadership role and skills. A tangible way to focus on development, coaching can help improve leadership functioning in a variety of ways from enhanced communication skills to building resilience in the workplace. Leaders can learn to recognize what negative habits and routines they have and how to replace them with more successful ones.
Here are some common leadership challenges that can be solved by coaching.
Shifting from a manager to a leader mindset
Companies can have good managers but ineffective leaders. The impact of this is lots of work happening but no common direction, strategy or movement forward.
What’s the difference between a manager and a leader? Of course, these aren’t mutually exclusive, but there are key differences that differentiate great leaders from just managing.
Good Managers are the folks who are great at organizing the team, getting projects delegated, and keeping employees accountable.
A leader takes it to the next level, seeing the bigger picture, knowing how to grow not just their organization but the whole company, and then effectively rallying those around him or her to support their vision and direction.
A leader helps employees understand both the company goals and strategy as well as their part in the company’s success. This can help the team to better understand their individual roles and how it contributes to the overall goals, motivating team members because they feel like they are making a larger impact within the company, as well as their organization.
A leader moves beyond just managing sales or marketing (for example), and instead, thinks of themselves as an owner of the company, finding ways to promote and meet the larger company goals.
A common coaching topic is how to effectively develop and strengthen communication skills. A coach can help provide guidance on how to polish their presentation skills, give helpful feedback, promote their ideas, instill the vision and direction, create trusted relationships, develop executive presence and a number of other communication-based leadership capabilities.
Coaching uses real business situations giving leaders the opportunity to practice “on the job” and create change that can drive increased results and greater impact.
Shifting from tactical to strategic
There’s a reason why no one likes a micromanager. These are the leaders
who get stuck in the detailed tasks that their team needs to get done. Similar to the first problem, it’s easy for leaders to spend too much energy on tactics, and not enough on the strategy for big wins.
A strategy focuses on long-term — how will you get from where you are today to what you’d like to achieve? Tactics are shorter-term and deal with execution.
If leaders aren’t providing clarity around the big questions, even the most motivated team members can fail because they can’t be sure how their time and resources are best spent.
A coach can help leaders understand how to move away from the micro level towards macro-level thinking to get their team to solve those big challenges that can transform a business.
Taking ownership and being proactive, not reactive
It’s common for employees to complain about their company “moving too slowly.” Perhaps it’s an unorganized workflow, high turnover, unnecessary approvals, or general politics that get in the way.
Rather than sitting around waiting for the company to make changes, effective leaders take ownership themselves. And role modeling this kind of ownership approach also inspired others to take ownership, as well.
Coaches can help leaders identify problem areas, be a thinking partner for brainstorming new approaches and solutions and support the new actions and behaviors that allow leaders to take full ownership of their roles.
Conflict and tension within an organization is nothing new.
Conflict resolution is important, since problems within the team can hinder performance, create drama and upset and cause a lack of trust that can lead to a poor work environment and a high turnover rate.
Being able to resolve problems quickly and take control of tough situations is a clear of an effective leader.
Because conflict within the organization is tricky and often delicate, a coach can help the leader recognize red flags and spot problems early. Getting to the root cause and putting guidelines in place to minimize future conflict helps the whole group develop into a high functioning team.
Coaching brings a fresh perspective for company leaders and helps them successfully solve the most common leadership problems. Successful leaders create successful companies.
Want to hear more on this topic?
Meet up with and listen to Amir Borna, Chief Product Officer, Sounding Board, during his session at HR TechXpo – August 28th in San Francisco. To learn more about how coaching can help your managers become better leaders, visit www.SoundingBoardInc.com.
About the Christine Tao
At my last startup, we experienced explosive growth. In less than 3 years we scaled to 300 employees with over $100M in revenues. I found myself leading a team as part of the executive staff.
Lori Mazan was my coach and the partnership we had transformed my leadership. At the beginning of 2016 we set out to transform the way companies develop their leaders at ALL levels by combining the power of 1:1 Coaching with technology.
Christine Tao is also a current member of the Next Concept HR Association’s (NCHRA) Board of Directors.