As a new people leader, I remember the first time I was introduced to a direct report twice my age. All of a sudden, the resistance set in and I really believed I wasn’t a leader at all. How could I ever expect to get great team results and develop leaders on my team? I had to fall back on what I knew to be true, that leadership is not about me. Leadership is about those you serve and helping your team succeed through strategy and direction. You are only as strong as the product of your team. Everything outside of that is just hubris.
Developing your leaders
A couple of summers ago, I was invited to a course on coaching by one of my mentors. I was certainly skeptical as I walked in considering my preconceived notions of a coach. My assumption was a blend between a high school basketball coach and someone’s spiritual adviser. The truth is, coaching helps uncover strengths, define intentions, and refine actions to achieve the goal at hand. It leaves the leader unattached to the outcomes associated, allowing the conversation to be free of any agenda. Routinely considered “the client” in coaching circles, we’ll simply call the person receiving coaching, your leader. Following the introduction below will help you elicit leader generated solutions and strategies that drive team collaboration. You can then hold your leaders responsible and accountable through actionable steps derived from the conversation.
Here’s the objectives of your coaching session
- Build relationships in a professional environment
- Build functional teams
- Elevate members of your team to higher leadership
- Improve team interactions
- Uncover strengths
What outcome can you expect from reading this
After reading this article, you’ll be able to:
- Distinguish the skills needed for coaching
- Develop the foundational knowledge required to coach
Coaching is just an approach, but you are the real value in the relationship. It’s important to begin your transition from “me” focused. Our first intention is always to refer back to what you know best, your own experience. The problem is, our leaders relate best to someone else, themselves. If you really want to have impact, it’s important to focus your team member and their needs. Only then will uncover their strengths and begin to uncover what your leader wants to achieve. That is when you will find engagement.
There are three formal coaching relationships:
- Formal (short or long)
- Situational (peer to peer or superior)
- Informal (conversational)
These relationships can be molded to fit your situation. Focus on your approach to these conversations and you’ll find it makes the entire process much easier. Set the stage early and both parties will have a clear understanding on the desired outcome. As you think through your team and the leaders you are trying to develop, frame the coaching relationship to best suit their style. The conversation will only be productive if it is received well.
There are four kinds of behavior that account for 89 percent of leadership effectiveness. Leaders who are supportive, operate with strong results orientation, seek different perspectives, and solve problems effectively. When evaluating your own leadership, consider each of these behaviors. Utilizing them may aid in your conversations success. In accordance with those behaviors, there are four key strategies to think about when considering your conversations.
- Discover what the person wants to achieve
- Encourage self discovery
- Elicit self generated solutions and strategies
Each of these four strategies will be imperative to the outcome of your conversation, ultimately challenging, motivating and inspiring your leaders.
As you are thinking about setting up these conversations, take a look at the best way to set up and have the coaching conversations.