The key to leadership: The leader as coach

By Stephanie Beard*

I am not sure about you, but I have a vision of what my ideal place of work is.  I want to work in a workplace that creates a positive environment, which allows me to be the best I can be, somewhere that cares about me as a person.  I want to be engaged in what I do and have meaning and purpose.  I want to continue to learn and have a sense of achievement.  Relationships are important to me at work and I want to have a bit of fun. 

 The key to this is leadership.  In any business there needs to be talent, the people who have the skills to do the work.  We all want to belong to a culture that is worth belonging to, but it is leadership that brings it all together.  Leaders that are worth following, leaders who are prepared to coach and develop you and make a positive difference in your life.

 The Leader as Coach will help another person reach their potential by creating dialogue that leads to awareness and action.  They help someone to be the best they can be and accelerate their development and progression.  The leader as coach unlocks the potential in other people.

 A coaching style of leadership helps someone focus on where they want to go, makes them aware of what is stopping them and assists in setting strategies to achieve goals.

It is a powerful style of leadership and people respond because they feel encouraged and motivated to change or improve.  Why?  They have someone who believes in them and is prepared to invest time in their development and take a genuine interest in them.

 The Leader as Coach builds the relationship based on trust and respect assists in drawing out the picture to achieve the change.  Coaching is about asking questions and listening.  It is not about telling a person what they have to do. 

 The skills required are active listening, ability to ask good questions, provide clear feedback, build a rapport and provide support.  Empathy is vital for a coaching relationship.  Follow the LUNA Rule – Listen for understanding not for agreement.

Assist the person to set goals, this provides the roadmap of where they want to go and what they want to achieve.  Once the goals are set it is important to agree upon an action plan and the way forward. 

The future workforce will be the Millennials, the people born between 1977 and 1997 and they will demand feedback from their boss and they will expect to be coached and mentored.  If they don’t receive it they will look elsewhere.

People look for leaders who can inspire them, motivate them and drive them to be the best they can be.  They want leaders who are prepared to coach and develop them and make a positive difference in their life.

*Stephanie Beard is the Human Resources Manager for legal firm The Lantern Legal Group, incorporating Harwood Andrews and Sladen Legal. She is an experienced and certified HR professional and manages more than 160 staff across 4 office locations in Victoria. She holds an MBA with a major in HR and a Masters of Business Coaching (Distinction). She is a member of the Australian Human Resources Institute.