We hear a lot about coaching these days. More and more professionals have an executive coach. The movement is even bringing coaching inside companies. International Coach Federation (ICF) Executive Director Magda Mook says, “The trend is very real. There’s a growing number of leaders and managers eager to adopt a coaching style to their work environment. More and more companies and organizations are providing this kind of training to their best performers.”
Magda cites a study on coaching in organizations conducted in 2015 by ICF and the Human Capital Institute (HCI). Their research revealed that 81% of the organizations surveyed planned to expand their scope of managers/leaders using coaching skills. By comparison, they plan a 72% increase in the use of internal coaches and a 35% increase in the use of external coaches.
So with the move to make leaders inside companies become coaches (or at least become familiar with coaching techniques), I thought it would be valuable to give Forbes readers some tips for being a great coach. With that goal, I reached out to some of the most revered and successful executive coaches to get their best advice for leaders who want to integrate coaching into their daily grind:
From Executive Coach Ora Shtull, Founder of OraCoaching:
To go from good to great, every manager need only adopt a coach’s #1 tool: the question.
A leader who reduces the need to be the smartest in the room and have all the answers will motivate her team, win allies, and create the capacity to grow personally. A question can open a conversation: What’s going on? It can dig deeper: Tell me more. I’d like to better understand. A smart question will seek perspective: What is your view on this? A savvy question can also show trust and encourage growth: How might you solve this problem?
Kara Exner, Founder of Nine Lions Coaching
Concurs with Ora’s focus on using questions. She says:
Notice if your own tendency is to rush straight to finding a solution for your team member or to fixing their problem for them. Leaders who invest the time asking questions to foster a team member’s self-discovery see a bigger payoff: Direct reports are more empowered to make their own decisions, more engaged with their work, and even go to the boss with questions less frequently.
From Shira Ronen, Founder of Spectrum Consulting:
The best tip I have for managers is to embrace the mantra, “When in doubt, communicate.” Adopting a coaching style of leadership is all about communicating better and more. It leads to high motivation, productive delegation, and trust. The trick to communicating better is asking open-ended questions and truly listening to the answers.
Early managers who are learning how to delegate and lead a team can speed up their learning curve by asking these questions of their reports:
“How would you like to see yourself growing in this role?”
“How would you approach this issue?”
“How do you view this past year? How do you think you’re doing?”
When you’re a senior leader, your relationships with colleagues become more critical. The astute executive will set up 1 on 1 meetings with colleagues (allies and objectors alike) to build alliances and eliminate conflict. Some of the questions you’ll want to ask of your peers are:
“You seem frustrated. Can we chat about what’s going on?”
“I’d like to learn more about your point of view on X. Do you have some time to discuss it?”
“Before I share this with the CEO, I’d love to hear your perspective…”
In many organizations managers are promoted because of their high-level technical skills. This means they often arrive in their new role having not received any leadership training. As leadership requires a shift from “achieving through doing it myself” to “achieving through enabling others to do it,” leaders need the skills of facilitating clear, structured, productive conversations. So, as conversations are the work of leadership, incorporating communication as a coaching technique makes real sense.
Karen Tweedie PCC, a Partner in Access Leadership Australia continues the theme of communications.
She says “Better conversations mean better relationships, which lead to better output.” Below are a few tips to help the coaching leader support direct reports or other key stakeholders:
If you are looking for a meaningful way to enhance your leadership skills, put the wisdom of top coaches into action.
Use the power of asking questions for personal branding. Download my complete list of 50 eye-opening questions to ask yourself when uncovering your brand here.
William Arruda is a personal branding pioneer and consultant, founder of Reach Personal Branding, and bestselling author of the definitive books on executive branding: Ditch.Dare. Do! and Career Distinction. He is passionate about how personal branding can inspire career-minded professionals to become indispensable, influential and incredibly happy at work—and teaches his clients (major global brands and 20% of the Fortune 100) to increase their success by infusing personal branding into their cultures. BBC TV, the Discovery Channel, NPR, Fox News, Time, Entrepreneur, GQ, The New York Times and dozens of other national and global publications have featured William as a personal branding expert, and his leadership in the field has inspired hundreds of coaches in 41 countries to become Certified Reach Personal Branding Strategists. Here’s a fun fact: William has the distinct privilege of having delivered more personal branding keynotes to more people, in more countries, than anyone on earth.
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