Thursday, December 13, 2012

Should leaders be fluent in coaching?

Coaching has become an integral part of leadership development.  AMEN!  As I look behind on all the leadership development programs that I have delivered with my colleagues this year, not one was delivered without coaching.  While many organizations have recognized the value and need for leaders who are excellent coaches, many leaders still struggle with recognizing the value of coaching.  Invariably, at least once a month, one eager participant will ask why do I need “this coaching stuff”? This question inspired me to write this blog. 

Since coaching is one of those abused terms, we could start by getting on the same page about what we mean by coaching.  The International Coach Federation defines coaching “as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”  Inside organizations, this could be translated to partnering with colleagues instead of clients.  I define coaching as partnering to unleash the potential from within.  This partnership requires, at the least, active listening and powerful questioning.  If we understand that Command, Control and Correct are no longer the most effective or efficient management tools, how do we as leaders Involve, Inspire, and Innovate?  Coaching seems to offer an excellent platform.

Using coaching, leaders can INVOLVE their team members and colleagues to be part of the solution.  A leader in coaching action can INSPIRE others to become part of the team seeking to unleash potential from within.   Coaching can help us deepen our awareness about what motivates us.  Using coaching rather than directing could also increase our abilities to INNOVATE. 

Coaching is also a great tool to help people connect with organizational values and to lead and facilitate the kind of strategic thinking that I referred to on a previous blog.  Coaching is also an excellent tool to help people work across generations.  In general, coaching is an essential skill of the Intelligent Leader.     

2012 has given me the opportunity to be a small part in the leadership journey of over one hundred and fifty leaders.  Those leaders who have embraced coaching as a tool for their own growth as well as a tool to unleash potential in others have really made an impact in their organizations and the kind of organizational cultures required to Involve, Inspire, and Innovate.  I do hope that more and more leaders become fluent in coaching… what do you think?

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Partner at Pertec Consulting

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