LeadersEdge blog
Insights for Shaping Tomorrow’s Leaders
How the Coaching Style of Leadership Helps Foster an Empowered Employee Experience
January 23, 2023

In last week’s blog, we talked about the employee experience and how it is the responsibility of all leaders at every level within the organization to consistently ensure they deliver on this commitment.

We shared some key statistics:

  • Gallup reports that 70% of the variance in team engagement is determined solely by the manager. 
  • Research from The Ken Blanchard Companies reveals organizations that prepare their leaders to exhibit coaching behaviors are 130% more likely to realize stronger business results and 39% stronger employee engagement results.

Regular communication around development — having coaching conversations — is essential.

Your success as a leader is determined by the depth of relationships you develop with others. As a leader, that means that you must understand what drives and motivates each person on your team, help them understand how they add value and contribute to the overall strategy of the company, and give them timely feedback. This will help each person learn, grow, and develop on an ongoing basis. 

All too often we focus on driving results and taking quick, decisive action. We want results now, which keeps us focused primarily on the present moment. While this isn't a bad thing, it ignores the benefits that can be experienced by developing people for the future, even if that future isn't clear right now. 

While leaders are expected to hold their people accountable to delivering results, we also need to balance our time by helping build bench strength at all levels within the organization. If your people and their success aren’t your number one priority it will impact achieving your results. And it will potentially make your job more challenging, as you may feel pressure to jump in to make things happen, or apply unnecessary pressure on others. 

Defining the Coaching Style of Leadership

The coaching style means the leader plays the role of coach who focuses on helping a person/team come up with their own ideas and solutions with the desire to help them improve their performance and deliver their personal best.

A key aspect of coaching is the ability to ask the right questions to help stimulate thinking and ideation in others, or perhaps to collaborate on it together if someone is stuck or lacks experience.

We are raving fans of Ken Blanchard’s Situational Leadership II model, as it clearly defines the style we need to flex, based on what the employee needs in that situation, moment, or with a specific task.

 The coaching style of leadership emphasizes ongoing feedback and motivation, and it recognizes that there's more to success in business than the bottom-line results. Leaders who lean into this style understand that people are at the core of their organization, and by developing their people, they build teams that continually strive for excellence.

What Coaching Leaders Bring to the Table

Some of the key benefits of the coaching leadership style include:

  • A positive, measurable – if not immediate – impact on overall performance.
  • Propels the team to uncover their hidden talents, strengths and areas of opportunity so you can help them grow and develop.
  • Builds an atmosphere of trust and engagement which shows you care.
  • Fosters accountability and ownership as you encourage others to think for themselves.

In my experience, the top two reasons why leaders do not flex this style often can be summed up as follows:

1) They feel it will take too long.
2) They have never been exposed to this style of leadership themselves and do not understand how to help coach others.  

Coaching is a conversation. Yes, it requires thoughtfulness and time, but it’s never too late to learn a few new tips and approaches to help bolster your leadership, and more importantly, create an amazing experience for your people. 

Simple Tips & Approaches to Leverage the Coaching Leadership Style

  • Be genuine, authentic, and empathetic. No one wants to work for someone who lacks these characteristics.
  • Be inclusive. Ask your people for their thoughts and ideas about solving problems and opportunities.
  • Be aware of your own communication and how you are showing up. We have explored self-awareness and EQ at extensively in previous blogs. Your responsibility is to create a safe space to help your people grow and develop.
  • Balance being directive with coaching. Ensure you are establishing clear expectations, goals, and objectives, and then provide encouragement and support as needed.
  • Be present and actively listen. Give people the opportunity to ask questions and brainstorm ideas with you.
  • Be open to both offering and receiving feedback.

We are here to help.

The coaching style of leadership is critical to creating an empowered employee experience as the pendulum of accountability shifts towards the employee, balanced with the support they need from you to perform at their best. It fosters engagement, and we encourage it because you are giving your people what they need to deliver results for the organization.

What are your thoughts? Do you employ this style? Have you been afraid to use this style because of its lack of emphasis on immediate results?

I'd love to hear what you think!

You can email me at joanne.trotta@leadersedgeinc.ca or call me at 1.855.871.3374.

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