Coaching is an integral part of leadership. For some leaders, coaching comes naturally. People are drawn to them; they initiate conversations efficiently and make connections quickly. They can identify the gaps in performance and where their ability to solve problems and make decisions are needed most. They do so with intention, directing all their attention and energy on the person who needs coaching.
However, coaching isn’t innate in all managers. Fortunately, it is a skill that can be learned. It starts with humility, a change of perspective, and the openness to engage with a diversity of personalities and behaviors. From active listening to giving feedback to asking the right questions, coaching is a leadership skill that can be mastered.
Here are three steps to building the strong foundation you need to master the art of coaching:
- Build Awareness
The most enlightened leaders are the ones who are aware of their strengths and weaknesses; they nurture their assets and work on removing blind spots that keep them from accepting new information. Before you can engage with your people, you need to have the discipline to utilize your talents and control your flaws.
Only a leader who is self-aware can help build awareness in others. Your goal is to help others identify which skills they excel at and which ones they need to work on. As their leader, you guide them towards accepting their realities and opening up to what they need to do to improve.
Building commitment starts with understanding what we stand to gain and what we will lose based on our actions. We commit to things we know will result in consequences if we fall short or fail to achieve. Therefore, commitment is a very emotional connection driven by fearing the impact our failure will cause.
To teach others to build commitment, we need to help them see the outcomes of their actions. Commit and be closer to a positive result; neglect your responsibilities and expect repercussions. Get people to realize where they will end up if they stay on their current path; will they be closer to their goal or will they miss achieving it entirely? Ask them which of their current behaviors are not aligned with their mission.
Mastering the art of coaching doesn’t happen overnight; it’s a process of engaging diverse personalities, each with their own goals and unique motivators. The more people you coach, the more you become aware of your coaching strengths and weaknesses. And the more you practice consistently, the better you become at understanding different behaviors and how to build their awareness and gain their commitment.
High-performing leaders at some point no longer need to remind themselves to conduct coaching sessions with their people; the practice becomes a habit. And positively influencing and transforming people’s lives to get them to where they want to be personally and professionally becomes instinctive.
Are you a leader who needs to unlock your coaching powers? We’ve had over 30 years of transforming leaders into effective coaches. If you struggle with engaging with your employees and gaining their commitment to work on their weaknesses, I believe I can help. Let’s connect: http://meetme.so/GregNichvalodoff or firstname.lastname@example.org