Feb 1st 2022

How coaching sheds light on the full spectrum of leadership

Last month, I explored influence within leadership, looking at transformational behaviours that inspire those around us to create positive change.

But established coaching practices can teach us further ways to engender leadership not only in our teams, but in our peers and even those higher up the professional ladder.

The power to influence

Influence remains the best place to start because it can begin working before a word is spoken. By building reputation, those in charge can forge the authority and credibility they need to be accepted as a leader, instead of just another boss.

Going deeper, the International Coaching Federation UK’s three core competencies, identified below, each inform how we can enable influential leadership to grow through the networks that support us.

  • Co-creating the relationship

For Joseph C Rost, leadership is about interaction – individuals within a group collaborating to meet the needs and goals of each participant.

Similarly for CEOs, feedback and pushback from the C-suite are vital for corporate strategy; managers must operate across “functional and business-unit boundaries” to drive change, benefiting the organisation as a whole, Mckinsey says.

  • Facilitating learning and results

Putting infrastructure in place to allow people to accomplish their objectives, then recognising, rewarding and celebrating results is important to coaching and leadership alike.

Accordingly, senior business figures should use themselves as an instrument to help staff succeed. As progress is made, a leader should encourage others to review their interactions, thus promoting understanding of the impact of chosen behaviours.

  • Communicating effectively

It goes without saying that effective communication is essential to strong professional relationships, but how can it be promoted?

Coaching methodology cites loyalty, discretion, and commitment as attributes that leaders must articulate through their support. Forgiveness is also crucial, says Manpreet Dhillon, founder and CEO of EDIB (equality, diversity, inclusion, and belonging) leadership organisation, Veza Global.

“When we’re able to forgive individuals’ mistakes, we show them that we have faith in their ability to become better team members…gifting them the space to fulfil their potential to be the best they can be,” Dhillon explains.

It is no coincidence that H. Mirsalimi and M. Hunter also identify “listening, reflecting, dialoguing, modelling and use of the self as the “deceptively simple” skills adopted by influential heads worldwide.

Inspire innovation

Indeed, we could not have survived the unprecedented pressures of the pandemic without exceptional leadership.

Addressing the urgent need for more sustainable business practices, Pamela Fletcher is leading General Motors’ push to convert its entire vehicle line-up to electric power by 2035. Mona Veron of Fidelity Investments saw “an incredible opportunity to think about innovative ways to bring financial wellness” to those struggling with the impact of the coronavirus. She pioneered a platform that “helps financial advisors respond to the demand for more ESG-orientated investing.”

Both women are demonstrating creativity and courageous execution at a time of global crisis. Their appetites for balanced risk and exploring strategies are traits that the best leaders have in abundance.

This mindset can be forged in the workplace through the 3Cs – context, content, and conduct – which together “frame coaching as a process of learning, developing and human performance.”

A coach will ask questions to build momentum of discovery, gaining clarity around why coaching is necessary. As trust grows, the content phase allows the individual to understand their options and feel comfortable with having ideas about next steps. A coach can then oversee the formulation of a concrete plan to help the person achieve something they may never have thought possible.

Eventually, those being supported can reach a place where they are comfortable with taking control and making bold, informed decisions.

Finally, I want to bring attention to a characteristic that stands out as crucial, in my experience: humility. A Sage Journals report finds that CEOs consider being humble as the magic ingredient to higher-performing leadership teams, better collaboration and flexibility in strategy development. The best chiefs know they do not know everything; they encourage others to speak up, champion great ideas and value differences of opinion, whether voices come from fellow seniors or the shop floor.

Healthy leadership, healthy future

The positive changes that these coaching practices put in motion are all part of a leader’s ability to influence in all directions within an organisation.

Carried out with diligence and over time, the methodologies can forge the resilience and intelligence that a business community needs to thrive, whatever challenges the future may bring.

At HR Spectrum, we know that through collaboration with individuals and companies who you know and trust, you can achieve smoother, more effective workflows and lasting success. 

To find out more about the fantastic opportunities available through HR Spectrum, contact us today. 

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