Global executive coach and development srategist with more than 20 years’ experience in talent management, organizational development.
Leadership is frequently defined as the ability to influence others toward achieving results. Authentic leaders tap into their unique style to make that happen. And when you incorporate coaching into your leadership style, you are able to maximize the potential of others to achieve even greater results.
According to the International Coach Federation, coaching is defined as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”
One of the core skills needed to be an authentic coach is active listening. It’s about being fully present and listening at a level beyond what is being said by paying attention to the tone, pace and emotions of our clients.
Another core skill for an authentic coach is engaging appropriately with empowering questions — not just any question, but open-ended questions that are designed to provoke thoughts that allow for the exploration of options that align with a desired state and outcome.
Authentic coaches are also courageous and respectfully share observations about their client’s insights without harping on their own point of view. To do this well, an authentic coach must believe that everyone:
• Has talent and brings unique gifts
• Has the ability to uncover their answers
• Desires a safe environment to process their thoughts and clear the internal clutter to regain focus
The authentic coach wants their client to be successful through their discovery, without influence, and achieve their goals. In other words, an authentic coach enables others to tap into their skills, knowledge and experiences to cultivate learning and growth. The coach’s focus is on the client — their clarity, their desired state and their purpose. The same is true for authentic leaders when incorporating a coaching leadership style. Doing so increases their team’s effectiveness and has a greater sustainable impact within the organization.
Tips For Incorporating Coaching Into Your Leadership Style
Authentic leaders have a keen sense of who they are. They know their strengths and development areas, and they have a clear vision of what they want to achieve. They understand that their leadership style is an evolving journey and a continual learning process around aligning strengths and development with outcomes, goals and success.
Below are two questions to assess whether you have been incorporating coaching into your leadership approach. When influencing your teams, peers and senior leaders:
• Do your thoughts, words or actions tend to focus on yourself or others?
• Do you invite unique differences of knowledge, skills and experience or do you feel compelled to share your proven success formula?
If your leadership style is self-centered, here are three tips to realign your authentic leadership style with a coaching twist:
1. Be true to yourself.
As William Shakespeare’s character said in Hamlet, “This above all: To thine own self be true.” When you have an authentic coaching leadership style, you are connecting and engaging with others. You are comfortable with your knowledge and refrain from feeling like you need to prove yourself. By focusing on others, you actually are perceived as more credible and trustworthy which in turn increases your influence.
2. The sum of many is better than one.
An authentic coaching leadership approach also means that you understand innovation and creativity comes from many inputs and not solely your own. This perspective encourages you to get out of your own way of thinking and allows for collaboration with teams, peers and leaders to define goals as well as gain buy-in toward desired outcomes.
How do you engage and motivate your teams, your peers and your leaders? To enhance your leadership style, try incorporating a coaching perspective for co-creating goals, processes and procedures. In doing so, you will increase your relationships as well as increase your influence and be seen as a true partner.
3. Be fully present.
No one likes to be ignored and everyone wants to be heard. When leaders are intentional about connecting with others and deliberate in their actions, their relationships strengthen. By incorporating coaching into your authentic leadership style, you can communicate in a way that resonates with everyone. Being fully present during all of your conversations is the highest form of respect a leader can demonstrate. Your teams will reciprocate your behavior, your peers will respect your opinions and your leaders will see a sustainable high performing team as a result.
Authentic Leadership With A Coaching Twist
Each of us brings our individual style of leadership to the office. In many cases, our ability to influence effectively is revealed by every decision cross point during our day-to-day activities. During these critical decision moments, the way you choose to show up as a leader is motivated by the circumstances and sense of urgency. Incorporating a coaching mindset and these practices into your authentic leadership style will lead to increased team engagement, better collaboration with your peers and more influence and respect among higher-ups. While the focus is not on you, an authentic coaching leadership style ultimately fuels your success in achieving your highest leadership potential.