Well, here’s the thing. Throughout my years as an HR professional, I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have seen capable managers who get into their own heads. We all do it, we second guess ourselves and carry baggage with us such as feedback we have gotten from past managers, friends and even family. We all have sensitivities, insecurities, and what results is the “uncertainty dance”. We get in our own heads and think we know the next leadership move then, in an instant, we don’t.
I once worked with a leader who second-guessed herself constantly. She viewed herself as being too direct and therefore, harsh in her tone and approach. As I started digging into why she thought this way and what actions she is taking to reinforce this belief, my “special HR powers” (oh yes we have special powers) were sensing that she’s being too hard on herself. Throughout our coaching sessions, she began to see that her leadership style and approach is indeed straight forward, yet had good intentions to help and develop her staff. We began to refine her messaging, toying with how we can keep the authenticity of her message while demonstrating emotional intelligence towards her staff. What started to unfold was an increasing comfort and confidence in how she was communicating with her employees.
The most crucial part of the coaching relationship is the coach’s ability to balance affirming the leader’s thoughts, while gently challenging them. As we worked together, this particular leader was getting bolder and more assertive. I started to see greater decisiveness and less hesitation in her decision-making abilities. More importantly, I was feeling less resistance from her. The tough exterior she was displaying, even with her employees, was beginning to soften as she got more settled into her authentic leadership style.
Coaching provides you with the following key competitive advantages as a leader:
In The 80/20 Manager: The Secret to Working Less and Achieving More, author Richard Koch talks about how the key element a coach provides to his or her coachee is encouragement. We all need encouragement. As we strive to do our best every day, it is our support network that gives us the motivation to keep going. Coaches understand the business pressures leaders go through and provide support, validation and a safe space for leaders to explore and develop their strengths and weaknesses.
Author Carol S. Dweck talks extensively about the growth mindset in her book Mindset: The new Psychology of Success. Working with a coach provides you with an impartial, empathetic sounding board, where the coach gently challenges you to think about the potential versus status quo. Coaches are curious and want to understand the why behind the leader’s actions. As a leader, you will find that the more a coach helps you to dig into the challenges you are experiencing, the more capable you will become as a leader to shift from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.
Increased Emotional Intelligence
Coaching targets many of the competencies and behaviors associated with emotional intelligence. For example, self-awareness and self-management are core areas of discussion and development in the coaching relationship. As the leader reflects on his actions and gains confidence in his abilities, he will have a greater ability to self-regulate and address the emotional responses of his team. This leads to increasingly fruitful one-on-one discussions with employees, a more engaged team, and the ability to develop employees based on the leader’s own unique strengths and weaknesses.
Comfort and Confidence in your Style and Approach
At the end of the day, when you feel self-assured in your abilities, and you start to feel more aligned with your value system, as a leader you will have greater confidence in who you are and what you bring to the table. The strong bonds you build with your employees, as well as an increasingly engaged team, will no doubt energize you as a leader that your authentic approach is bringing great results.
More and more, organizations are looking to hire external coaches to support development plans for their leaders. Talk to your organization about supporting your development in partnership with an external coach. Learn more about what Rubiks Coaching can do for you by clicking the button below: