A leader’s role is to give advice, guidance and direction to the people following him or her. A great leader inspires others to be empowered, creative and enthusiastic. If you can influence people to be their best, you’re already a leader, no matter what your job role or title.
The best leaders in business are always learning, adapting and developing. They are looking for new ways to improve, which is where coaching and mentoring can help. This article explains why coaching and mentoring are essential as part of successful leadership development.
People learn new skills in lots of different ways, but developing yourself as a leader takes more than attending training courses, reading industry publications or shadowing peers. People need to be in a learning environment where they can practice the skills and techniques they learn. Coaching and mentoring gives leaders this opportunity to practice as well as exploring issues and opportunities in a collaborative, personalised and nuanced way.
An excellent coach can help a leader to understand their own strengths and weaknesses and determine how to fill any knowledge and skills
gaps. A coach can help you adapt to a new role, responsibilities or challenges. Research has shown that coaching and mentoring can increase productivity and job satisfaction, which means that you’re more likely to be happy in your role as well as becoming more effective.
Research from the International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring has found that coaching makes a valuable contribution when leaders are transitioning through their career. Coaching was found to be especially valuable when leaders were facing new and difficult challenges. The coaching and mentoring experience was found to be particularly beneficial when a coach has directly relevant professional experience as well as good coaching skills, showing that it’s important to choose a coach that’s right for you and your needs.
Leadership expert Bolden found that the qualities of openness, empathy, integrity and self-awareness have become more relevant in recent
years, resulting in a need for a more participative leadership style. This has meant that it is now important than ever that leaders develop their emotional intelligence and an ability to manage their own emotions as well as the emotions of others. In recent years this has led to a focus on developing leaders in a way that allows experiential and reflective learning. Coaches and mentors are particularly good at this type of learning.
Major large companies and public sector organisations are investing in coaching and mentoring support to help develop their leadership teams. A major reason for this is because research has shown that people state other key individuals as being a prime influencer in their career. These individuals tended to be professional connections who made them feel special, inspired them and allowed them to reflect on their own learning. Coaching is a powerful way for people to undertake this essential reflection activity, and a great coach is well-placed to connect with and inspire a potential leader.
Develop your leadership capability
If you’d like to talk about the steps you can take to become a stronger, more effective leader, I’d love to chat. To help give businesses a post-Coronavirus boost, I’m setting aside part of my day to offer free mini Executive Coaching and Mentoring to people who would value some help in adopting new ways of working. Get in touch if you’d like to talk.