These four aspects of leadership suggest what leaders need to do. We encourage leaders to think about their own daily activities and to ask themselves whether what they are doing relates directly to one or more of these leadership responsibilities. However, this overview of purposeful leadership activity does not consider how leaders are working with their people.
When you drill down and ask questions about how leaders must work with their teams to achieve these goals, you constantly come back to some basic processes: consultation, questioning, listening and coaching.
Again, we believe this is difficult without the person interaction and sharing that coaching allows. Coaching gives people permission to reflect on their current situations, skills, problems and opportunities. As they are coached, they identify possible options, ways forward and alternative directions that they may not have identified for themselves. As part of the process, they are able to evaluate their own performance, think about the support they need and assess their own levels of commitment to the goals they say they aspire to achieve. As leaders coach, they are able to make much finer judgments about:
a) what they need to provide to help their followers grow and develop and b) what type of leadership approach will work best for each individual, or team, they lead. As leaders, if we are charged with monitoring impact, in order to ensure that everything we are doing is purposeful, sustainable and effective, we need feedback from those ‘at the coalface’. Performance and process improvement depends upon people looking for ways of doing things better, challenging inefficiencies and suggesting innovations. Again, coaching is a great tool for encouraging accountability, at all levels, for quality and the achievement of standards. When a leader is presented with a problem or a complaint, adopting a coaching approach (in which the individual concerned works towards their own solution) ensures that the ownership of the issue remains with the individual and the commitment to the self-determined course of action is likely to be greater than if the leader provided ‘the answer’. If we accept these ideas, coaching becomes a skill that leaders simply must develop. Coaching conversations can happen anywhere, at any time. They take no more than a few minutes in a corridor or on a supermarket floor. Or, they may be part of an employee’s ongoing, structured professional development. However they happen, they take the pressure off leaders and engage and empower those they lead. Surely this is a worthwhile investment? For managers and leaders new to coaching, RSVP Design offers a fully developed and resourced one-day workshop for in-house delivery: Developing Others through Coaching. In addition, many of our experiential learning activities build coaching skills in active and enjoyable ways:
Voyage Mapping Individual Coaching Version Coach individuals to reflect and review on previous journeys and experiences in order to plan for the future, either in a personal or business context. GROW Coaching Cards
Three sets of cards to help leaders, managers, or facilitators coach individuals or teams and set out specific goals and how to achieve them.