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How Workplace Coaching can Create Effective Leaders

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Coaching is a powerful tool that can be used to create good, if not great, leaders in the workplace. As part of our features on International Leadership Week, Sophie Clyde-Smith and Claudia Sutton, founders of Jersey-based Alt Collective, explain how by providing support, encouragement and a framework for development, coaches can help individuals develop the skills and qualities necessary to become effective leaders.

With a study by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) showing that 24% of organisations have a dedicated line item for coaching in training budget and 44% of high-performing organisations have made financial commitments to coaching, we can see that this is an upward trend (ICF – Building a Coaching Culture for Change Management (2018)).

So why are these organisations investing their budget in coaching? And how exactly does coaching support leadership development?

In this article, we will explore the benefits of coaching for leadership development, we will provide practical tips for using coaching to create good leaders in the workplace and we will explore the impact of a coaching culture on this type of intervention.

Benefits of Coaching for Leadership Development

Coaching can have numerous benefits for leadership development in the workplace. Some of these benefits include:

Improved self-awareness

Through coaching, individuals can gain a better understanding of their strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. This increased self-awareness can help them become more effective leaders by enabling them to better manage their own behaviour and interactions with others.

Enhanced communication skills

Effective communication is a critical skill for any leader. Coaching can help individuals develop the communication skills necessary to effectively convey their ideas, provide feedback, and motivate their teams.

Increased confidence

By providing support and encouragement, coaches can help individuals build their confidence in their abilities as leaders. This increased confidence can translate into more effective leadership behaviours and a greater willingness to take risks and make tough decisions.

Improved decision-making

Coaching can help individuals develop their decision-making skills by providing a framework for weighing options, considering potential outcomes, and making informed choices.

Enhanced interpersonal skills

Good leaders must be able to work well with others, build relationships, and collaborate effectively. Coaching can help individuals develop the interpersonal skills necessary to be successful in these areas.

Practical Tips for Using Coaching to Create Good Leaders in the Workplace

Whether you bring in external coaches to support your team or you have trained internal coaches, these practical tips are important to consider in order to get the most out of your intervention:

1. Start with a clear understanding of the goals of the individual who is going to be coached

Before beginning coaching, it’s important to understand the individual’s goals and aspirations. What do they hope to achieve as a leader? What skills do they need to develop in order to be successful? Having a clear understanding of these goals will help you tailor your coaching approach to meet their specific needs.

2. Focus on strengths as well as weaknesses

While it’s important to identify areas for improvement, it’s also important to focus on the individual’s strengths. Building on these strengths can help them become more confident and effective leaders.

3. Provide feedback

Coaches should provide regular feedback to help individuals improve their skills and behaviours. This feedback should be specific, actionable, and focused on areas where the individual can make meaningful improvements.

4. Encourage reflection and self-awareness

Coaching should encourage individuals to reflect on their own behaviours and interactions with others. This can help them identify areas for improvement and develop a deeper understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses.

5. Support ongoing learning and development

Good leaders are always learning and growing. Coaches should encourage individuals to seek out new learning opportunities and support their ongoing development through training, workshops, and other resources.

By providing support, and encouragement, coaches help individuals develop the skills and qualities necessary to be effective leaders.

By providing support, and encouragement, coaches help individuals develop the skills and qualities necessary to be effective leaders. However, the effectiveness of leadership coaching programmes can be directly impacted by the culture of the organisation that it is delivered into to – more specifically, the coaching culture, or lack thereof.

What is a coaching culture?

A coaching culture is an organisational environment where coaching is valued and integrated into the organisation’s processes and practices, and where coaching is seen as a key tool for supporting employees at all levels.

In a coaching culture, coaching is not just limited to external coaches, but is integrated into the organisation’s management and leadership practices. Embedding a coaching culture in organisations has been proven to improve employee engagement and satisfaction, reduce turnover rates, and improve organisational performance.

The impact of a coaching culture on leadership coaching interventions

Developing a coaching culture is crucial to the effectiveness of leadership coaching in the workplace. It creates a supportive environment where coaching is valued and integrated into the organisation’s culture, leading to improved efficacy of programmes and higher chances of meeting overall organisational objectives.

If an organisation has not taken steps to truly integrate a coaching culture, coaching may not be seen as a valuable tool, programmes can fall flat and returns on investment unrealised.

In conclusion, we can clearly see the benefits of leadership coaching in the creation of good leaders. But, in order to maximise this intervention, it must be paired with a commitment to creating a coaching culture across an organisation.

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