It is not easy being a leader. Leadership can be quite complex and requires deep capability in numerous competencies. Some of the skills can come easily and naturally fall into strengths. Conversely, there are aspects of leadership that are not intuitive or fully developed yet. Leadership is a journey that is full of twists and turns.
As executive coaches working with large, medium and small organizations, we find there are five coaching themes that come up more often than others for leadership development. As you read them, reflect on which ones are your strengths and which have opportunities for improvement.
1. Increase executive presence and ability to influence
Executive presence is a common coaching theme among senior executives. When inquiring what that looks like to the client, it often involves exuding confidence, acting decisively, projecting vision and demonstrating emotional intelligence. Clients want to be seen as someone who is recognized as an influential leader that commands appropriate situations. This requires confidence, decisiveness, vision and emotional intelligence (EI). Each aspect of executive presence can be developed through coaching.
2. Enhance ability to communicate up, down and across
As leaders move into advanced roles, the communication approach used in the past may not be as effective in larger roles. Each new role requires an assessment of the communication needs for that role. Communicating down requires a different approach since managing individual contributors is quite different than managing managers, directors or vice presidents.
The most challenging communication tends to be communicating across. In order to meet both department and organization needs, communication is as much about listening as it is about persuading and influencing. Barriers like ego and power can be blockages to this critical communication line. Communicating up, down and across can be further developed through leadership coaching.
3. Improve strategic planning and execution
It is easy to get caught up in day-to-day tasks and execution of those tasks. It is familiar. The rewards of demonstrating these strengths are visible and quick. Setting aside time to determine the strategic plan can seem less rewarding. If the leader does not take the time to layout and communicate the required strategic plan, the team will not be nearly as successful.
The challenge for some leaders is shifting from working on the “important and urgent” to the “important and not urgent”. The other challenge can be creating a strategic plan, that for some feels nebulous. Strategic planning and execution can be strengthened through executive coaching.
4. Improve relationships with colleagues and peers
It is common for clients to share challenges with dysfunctional peer relationships. When digging into the issues, they are often tied to the intentional systematic organizational tension between two competing roles. The more organizational tension there is, the harder it is to have crucial conversations that lead to agreement and improved relationships. Coaching can quicken the leader’s skills in discovering what is underneath the dysfunction while helping them become more skilled in building relationships even with difficult topics.
5. Improve the ability to lead, motivate and engage teams
Many organizations have survey measurements that evaluate the leader’s effectiveness in leading, motivating and engaging his/her team. What is often missing is a clear guided path to improving the leader’s skills in all aspects of motivating and engaging the staff. Since an approach in one setting may not work in another setting, leadership coaching ensures the leader receives individualized support for their unique team and its members.
Leaders too often grind out leadership challenges without support. They take the tough road and move forward figuring it out on their own, sometimes scraping their knee and sometimes falling hard. Success happens more efficiently when the leader is in partnership with a leadership coach. The Institute of Coaching cites that over 70% of individuals who receive coaching benefited from improved work performance, relationships and more effective communication skills. They also reported that 86% of companies feel that they recouped the investment they made into coaching.
Conscious Culture Group offers a list of coaches that will meet your needs. We customize coaching packages to meet the client’s needs. Please let us know if you want a complimentary 30 minute “good fit” conversation by reaching out to me at [email protected]
Looking for more ways to improve your leadership skills this year? See our list of 3 Books To Become A Better Leader.
Russ Elliot is the founder, chief consultant and executive coach of the Conscious Culture Group®, a culture consulting and executive coaching company focused on creating unique intentional cultures that are great places to work. The Conscious Culture Group® builds a bridge between the leadership’s vision and the employee experience through customized solutions. Russ serves as a consultant, executive coach, educator, trainer and speaker.
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