Most executives begin their career from a professional role, focusing on their areas of expertise. However, as they grow, the emphasis shifts from doing things themselves to getting things done by others. As leaders, they need to keep their view firmly on the goals, and periodically take stock of where the organization is on this journey. Sadly, a lot of leaders have an unflinching vision of their journey’s end, but fail to pay attention to the means of getting there: their employees. The concept of a leader as coach revolves around paying equal – if not more – attention to the emotional aspects of guiding employees.
Why be a Coach?
As a leader, you need to be connected to the pulse of your people. Getting work done through employees is not just about giving orders – it includes an entire spectrum of activity ranging from providing guidelines, following-up, observing performance, handling conflicts, providing feedback and analyzing results. When you adopt the leader as coach attitude, you do all of these with an emotional intelligence that draws the best out of your employees.
Important Qualities for a Leader as Coach
- Leaders who are coaches possess certain qualities, of which the most important ones include.
- Strong communication skills – not only do they communicate with clarity and empathy, they also possess the ability to remain silent when others speak, and listen actively. They are capable of hearing what the speaker expresses through his words as well as body language.
- Positive attitude – they view all interactions and situations with positivity. They are not prejudiced, and keep an open mind, always focusing on finding something to appreciate and value in an employee even if it may differ from their personal opinion. They provide feedback in a constructive manner that helps the employee to view his shortfalls with positivity.
- Commitment to growth – their own as well as that of employees. They seek to learn from situations, and share this learning unhesitatingly with their employees, often in the role of a mentor or teacher. They look for the hidden potential and talent in others and seek to make them aware of it, guiding them to acquire greater knowledge and skills.
- Employees gain inspiration when they see their leader as coach, especially if the leader continually strives personally to attain high standards of performance. Such a leader inspires by not only his words, but also by his actions, and thus, is more likely to ensure organizational goals are met by empowered and engaged employees.