Coaching is everywhere in 2019. It’s the latest buzz word and available for every part of life, from surfing to finding your dream job. Great! It sounds brilliant. But what does “coaching” mean, what makes someone a coach, and is it worth all the hype?
As a Leadership Coach across a diverse range of sectors, I’ve found that the concept of coaching is far from universally understood. Typical questions I get asked include, “Why do I need a coach?” “Are you saying I’m deficient in some area?”, and “What do coaches do?”
One comment I regularly hear sounds something like, “I don’t need a coach; I have a mentor!” So, with that in mind, let’s start at the beginning. What’s the difference between a mentor and a coach?
In a nutshell; mentors are subject matter experts; while coaches work with subject matter experts. A mentor comes with answers and solutions for you to implement. A coach comes alongside, walks with you, and creates space for you to develop in the context of your unique environment.
Both are needed. Each occupies an important place in the scheme of life and business. So, what is Leadership Coaching? Why is it needed, and why do I specialise in coaching leaders? I’m glad you asked!
Leadership is a tricky beast. It takes you out of the day to day technical aspects of your business and asks you to excel in managing people and processes rather than products and services. You’re expected to release others to do the work, as well as navigate the often-treacherous terrain of relationships. You want to free people to innovate – but how do you do that when you are stuck in professional fixer mode?
Life is about relationships and work is an integral and substantial aspect of life. Work, therefore, is primarily about how we manage relationships. Until we as leaders get comfortable with leading relationally, we will struggle to get the best from those we lead.
A Leadership Coach works with leaders who recognise they need someone to walk with them as they develop. The role of a coach is not to provide you with the answers but to give you the time, space and tools to discover and build your unique leadership style. It’s about setting you up for ongoing success!
You don’t need to have all the answers. Your job is to create an environment to inspire and enable your team to innovate and find creative solutions. The best leaders are not the experts; they are the ones who know how to empower and release people strategically, harnessing the strengths of individuals to deliver for the whole.
I’m a Leadership Coach because I’ve been where you are. It’s one thing to know the mechanics of your business; it’s another to develop the skills to bring the best out in others. The goal for leaders is to release people employed for their expertise to collaborate, innovate, and work as a team!