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Leadership styles: Why coaching is the new black

High. Performance. Teams. What does it actually mean, and have you ever thought about what makes a successful team?
© bolina – 123RF.com
We all know that in this ‘always-on-business-world’ that we live in has its own set of challenges and with this, a new type of leadership style needs to be prioritised. It is all about a new way of connecting with yourself, your teams and the world.

For a leader to adopt a coaching mentality and approach, this can contribute to their teams reaching their potential, building and sustaining high performance and at the end paying this skill forward.

To invest in your teams will ultimately help to retain top talent and foster a culture of growth, opportunity and inclusiveness, which is a win for people and profit. This is what every high-performance company wants to achieve. Learning what makes your team tick so you can help them flourish, is a key competency of a good manager applying a coaching approach.

At the recent HR Goes Agile conference, I had the privilege to talk to a variety of HR leaders and decision-makers about why they need to become coaches in their leadership roles. It became clear that everyone knows what the benefits are of this new leadership type, but no-one really knows where to start (and some being uncomfortable with the idea). Even more reason why HR needs a seat at the decision table and why managers have a critical role to play in ensuring their teams stay.

Harvard researchers have found that employees who enjoy their work, play to their strengths, and continuously gain skills and experiences that will advance their careers are about 33% more likely to stay in their jobs.

Ken Blanchard writes that servant leaders can accomplish that through performance planning, day-to-day coaching, and performance evaluation. He explains that “meeting with direct reports one-on-one is an excellent way for leaders to create and sustain good relationships and build trust in the workplace”.

Leaders need to be very clear about the vision they want to achieve.

Studies have found that by not giving clear directions, not taking time to meet with their teams, and not providing constructive criticism were among the top 10 employee complaints about leaders and their managers.

Diversity brings a variety of thinking styles, views and experiences to the table - most managers appreciate the value of a diverse team. It is even more important to have a shared vision or goal to inspire the team to move in the same direction.

In the newly released (fascinating!) book Our Search For Belonging by Howard Ross, he refers to the term “bridging”. This is when people form connections in diverse groups, like work environments. It usually occurs as a result of some perceived shared interest or goal that creates something larger or more important than the differences that exist between the bridging parties.

Every great and successful manager would have embraced the core skill of being a coach and acknowledge the direct impact this makes to their teams. If managers do not become skilled at coaching their teams, it is unlikely that they will be able to achieve sustainable long-term positive results for themselves or their companies.

Coaching and collaboration have taken over as the most effective way for managers to lead.

Which bring me to the question: Why are not all leaders adopting this coaching approach and style?

About Anja van Beek

Anja van Beek is an independent leadership consultant, talent strategist and coach.
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