Leadership is influence and with its position comes great responsibility. The many uncertainties in human behaviour and the disruption in external work environments are both factors that contribute to this challenge. As such, there is an urgent need to develop executive leaders who can effectively position their organizations for success. One of the responsibilities of a leader is to offer guidance and this can be effectively done if the leader is also well guided. Whatever knowledge and traits a leader offer as gems to his or her followers must also be inherent and learnt by the leader. Clearly, leaders need guidance or in other words, coaching.
Learning never ends, so even the best of the best always find themselves in positions where they need to be taught. The world’s best soccer players, tennis players, boxing competitors and champions in other sports have coaches. Is it because they are not as good as they claim to be? No, they are excellent players. But there is always room for growth and development of potential. And as such, even world leaders have coaches who guide their development so they will always be in top shape to make good choices.
The leader-coaching relationship is intended to benefit the executive by increasing his or her performance by zoning in on the development of specific leadership qualities to help them reach untapped levels of success. Leadership Guidance is a combination of different strategies that are utilized to help the self-leadership and leading others for positive growth and impact.
As leaders and business executives, there are a number of benefits we can reap from allowing ourselves to be coached. Clarity is one of the solid pillars needed by everyone seeking growth, more especially leaders. As put by Forbes, getting leadership guidance can help you see yourself more clearly. Our titles and careers are not accurate representations of who we are. Unfortunately, the way we see ourselves is tied to these things. It matters that we have accurate self-awareness as leaders because it is highly correlated with organizational effectiveness and profitability, and employees prefer to follow leaders who see themselves clearly (and are willing to share their perceptions).
Erika Anderson explains that when you engage with a good coach, he or she will generally gather input about how others see you at the beginning of the engagement, and share it with you. (The best coaches will also pattern the feedback into key themes, to further clarify others’ perceptions of your key strengths and growth areas.) Throughout the coaching engagement, your coach will also share his or her perceptions of you, based on observation of you and your interactions with others. Most important, if your coach is effective, he or she will help you build skills to see yourself more clearly: to question your assumptions about yourself, get curious about where you are strong and where you need to grow, and learn to see yourself with “fair witness” eyes.
If you can see yourself clearly, you are well poised to see other clearly. Thoughtfulness is a prerequisite for effective leadership as well as the ability to make accurate assessments of those around us. Many of us have lost good people because of poor judgement of character or our inability to recognize and support differences. A good coach will guide you to make accurate deductions about personalities and character so you can make good decisions.
Asking the right questions will lead you to seek the right answers. This path of discovery is empowering, and empowered leaders to do impactful work. Coaches establish an advantageous relationship that uncovers hidden strengths and weaknesses within the leader. Why is it necessary for even a leader to know his strengths and weaknesses? It is a guidance to growth, a guidance to tracking progress and mapping out how to maximize potential.
Leaders also gain new perspective on everyday responsibilities from their coach. Being in the position of leadership usually doesn’t give a lot of room to simply be human. We are so overwhelmed with the weight of being superheroes that we do not discover ourselves fully. With the guidance of a coach, we can discover new insights by analyzing problems and creating a plan for similar situations in the future.
Coaching also reduces narrow-minded thinking in leaders. Coaches encourage the leader to open their thought patterns and consider other points of view by asking questions. This benefits the leader by provoking free thoughts and encouraging flexible leadership. The Center for Management and Organization Effectiveness calls flexible leadership a “business necessity” as it allows for quick, creative, and precise decision making under pressure.
Coaching enables leaders to realize that their communication is not always as clear as they think. Coaches will highlight areas of communication that need improvement and practice those areas with the leader. Coaches can also teach leaders how to communicate with individuals of different personality types, cultures, or ages using their past experiences as examples. Good communication skills allow people to connect with one another. A coach who can guide an individual to communicate effectively will improve their credibility and overall leadership abilities.
Companies which invest in coaching for their leaders regularly experience a significant return-on-investment. The ICF Global Coaching Client Study Executive Summary reported that an organization can typically expect a return of seven times the initial investment of a coaching engagement. According to Medium, U.S companies spend over $14 billion a year on leadership development. Statistics reported by Monte Wyatt in a study involving FORTUNE 1000 companies who engaged coaches for change and growth coaching, explored the general value and return on investment of executive coaching and presents the following:
Observable productivity increases reported by 53% of executives. Increase in quality and organizational strength by 48%, increase in Bottom-line profitability by 22%, 67% increase in improved teamwork. Improved working relationships with peers – reported by 63% of executives, increased job satisfaction – 61%, conflict reduction – 52%, increased organizational commitment – 44%, improved working relationships with clients – 37%.
Roughly 25 to 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies seek out executive coaches according to the Hay Group, an international human-resources consultancy. Coaching helps build behavioral competencies that drive bottom-line business results, including cost reduction and overall profitability. Coaching can also improve the job satisfaction, engagement, and working relationships of those who receive coaching. Executive coaching for leaders is undeniably a worthy development strategy that enables organizations not just to manage change but to embrace and thrive in it.
Though seasoned leaders are usually adept in things like charting complex stakeholder environments and allocating resources to address business priorities, we must not overlook how the development of coaching skills can benefit us as leaders and employees. Here are four strategies that leaders have to keep in mind when considering executive coaching in the workplace for themselves and their staff.
- Consider your needs
Coaching should be based on the needs of the recipient, not the coach. To do this, leaders must seek out coaches with a heightened sense of self-awareness and an understanding of how they can be perceived by others. From this level of self-understanding, coaches can begin to recognize the interpersonal preferences of their coaching recipients and adapt their coaching style accordingly.
- Coaching is not a transfer of information, but a conversation.
Leaders should remember that coaching is not just a transfer of information from coach to recipient, but a conversation. Coaching conversations should have a cadence where both parties are asking questions, providing insight into their perspective and experience and developing a plan for the future that both parties are invested in. To enable these conversations to occur, we as leaders must seek out coaches that listen to the people we are coaching and create an environment where coaching recipients feel comfortable enough to be vulnerable about the areas they need help in.
- Identify and leverage development opportunities in leaders and teams.
Coaching conversations create a dynamic where leaders get increased visibility of issues their team members are struggling with. This visibility allows leaders to stave off issues before they become unwieldy and out of control. Essentially, coaching allows leaders to glean insights about their team’s operations and morale that they would not receive otherwise, which helps them manage their team’s priorities in a more effective way.
Like all other leadership skills and tools, professionals should remember that coaching is a tool that can help managers empower their employees to reach for new levels of effectiveness in achievable and sustainable increments.
- Coaching should seek to churn out responsive and adaptive leaders.
As leaders we should seek out coaches with a firm mandate to strengthen leaders and employees’ autonomy and independence, thereby preparing them to adapt to new challenges. Becoming proactive and anticipating change will become more and more indispensable to survive in our highly competitive economy. Thus, it is very crucial to imbibe these qualities through executive coaching.
Coaching is crucial for leaders. It is a unique tool that can be used to help leaders master every area of their lives so they can be proper agents of change. We must first be the change we want to see and this is one way to help consolidate and elevate us to be of more impact in our personal and professional lives.
Are you ready for TRANSFORMATION?
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo: The H.E.L.P. Coach
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo is a Personal Impact, Professional Growth and Influence Expert specializing in Humanness, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Power – H.E.L.P.
A career spanning over two decades, she has established herself as a Certified High Performance Coach, Speaker, Author, Wellness Expert and award-winning Entrepreneur with a clientele ranging from C-Suite Executives, Senior Management, Practitioners and Sales Leaders spanning 3 continents.
She is the Founder of Dzigbordi K. Dosoo (DKD) Holdings; a premier lifestyle business group with brand subsidiaries that include Dzigbordi Consulting Group& Allure Africa.
She is one of the most decorated female entrepreneurs in Ghana having being named “CIMG Marketing Woman of the Year” in 2009; “Top 10 most respected CEOs in Ghana, 2012; Global Heart of Leadership Award and, Women Rising “100 Most Influential Ghanaian Women”, 2017. She has also been featured on CNN.
She can be reached on email@example.com and @dzigbordi across all social media platforms.