Never has there been a more important time to support present and future leaders. Since the pandemic, our working environment has changed, our working practices have changed and the way we look at work has changed beyond recognition.
For the last of our Coaching themed articles this month, we turn our focus to leaders and how coaching is supporting them in these challenging times. Coach and Workplace Mentor Sue Pallot explores how ideas of leadership have changed and considers what makes a good modern-day leader?
Leaders are facing new challenges, with the ‘great resignation’ and the ‘conscious quitting’ revolution. With this ever-changing backdrop, how are leaders to lead, how are they to know what is the right way to lead and who supports the leaders whilst they are leading their teams?
It’s not just employees that need good leadership, the leaders themselves are looking to ensure that they are getting it right and conscientious leaders are engaging the skills of coaches in order to assist them to navigate through their leadership journey.
Why choose coaching?
Coaching has been around for many years. There is evidence to support the fact that coaching first originated from Socrates, the great moral philosopher whose style of teaching was to ask questions rather than telling the students the answers.
In more recent years, the writings of Stephen Covey and John Whitmore have outlined the principles for coaching and performance which is intrinsically linked to leadership practices. Coaching has earned a respected place as a credible, proven support for change that is uniquely customised to each coachee.
Coaching is an ideal mechanism for sustaining positive change.
“Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.”
21st century leaders are more emotionally intelligent and educated than their 20th century predecessors. They are collaborative, empowering and authentic and it is known that future leaders are developing at a much earlier stage in their leadership journey.
We are all leaders and good leadership begins with living our own values. Coaching provides a non-judgmental space, for individuals to explore and define their values, break down their limiting beliefs, increase their confidence and to shift perspective. Tim Gallwey describes it as “Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.”
What makes a good modern-day leader?
Recent workshops conducted by the Coaching Agency and the Diversity Network show that leaders have changed, their ideas of leadership have changed.
Words like, kindness, respect, empathy, compassion and trust form part of the attributes that leaders think they should now have.
According to feedback, what helps leaders to overcome barriers to leading cultural change is primarily training, coaching, practical tools for improving self-awareness through feedback, and learning circles. In the latest leadership survey conducted by Leadership Jersey it was noted that leaders rated themselves as a 7 out of 10 when it came to how they saw themselves as a leader. It has been noted in conversation with some leaders however, that many leaders do not have a 360-degree review by team members so how do they know that they are on average a 7 out of 10?
In order to complement the coaching conversation, tools can be used to assist the coachee in identifying what makes a good leader. Questions like, what does leadership mean to you?
This allows the coachee to gain a deeper knowledge of themselves and to reflect on their style of leadership. There are many styles of leadership to be explored and identifying which are your preferred natural style or styles, really can be a game changer for leaders. Daniel Goleman said: “The best leaders don’t know just one style of leadership – they are skilled at several and have the flexibility to switch between styles as the circumstances dictate.”
Self-awareness is the key to your leadership success.
When do you in your role as a leader take time to reflect about yourself? How aware are you about the impact you have on others as a leader? Is your impact what you want it to be?
Self-reflection is vital – how well do I as a leader connect, listen and seek to understand the people around me? Having a regular check-in with yourself can ensure you are in alignment with the kind of leader you want to be.
And finally, feedback. When things are uncertain, it can feel comforting to avoid difficult feedback. Your ability to listen, learn and change what needs to be changed, can create success for you and your team. Whilst providing stability when uncertainty is high, knowing where you stand as a leader is more crucial than ever.
Sue Pallot PCD Dip, APC, is a qualified, accredited coach and qualified workplace mentor. She has many years of experience managing, coaching and mentoring people and is passionate about relationships, wellbeing and mental health. She uses her skills to support people to achieve their goals, be more successful in their careers and to achieve contentment and happiness in their chosen life journey.