It is interesting to ponder over the question if leaders need someone when they reach at the top?
It is presumed that leaders lead the organizations and manage the resources and are instrumental in achieving the goals. They give a direction and add purpose to the very existence of the organization. They are resourceful, powerful and dynamic individuals who are entrusted with the task to achieving the set goals of the organizations. Well, if they were considered to be so dynamic and powerful why would they need someone?
Let’s explore the probable causes of why a leader might need someone as their coach to help them achieve not just their professional goals, but also act as catalyst to help them progress towards the path of self actualization.
Coaches help Leaders to become better leaders
Although each leader knows what to do and how to do yet the coaches help them to further explore why to do what they want to do. This helps the leaders to find the real purpose of doing what they want to do. There are several leadership training programs that are designed and conducted by credentialed coaches. As leaders when you attend these training programs, you get to have better insights and sensitization towards different aspects of leadership. Coaches help leaders to not only work on their self learning, developmental and conceptual skills but also to do better when it comes to the real blood and bones of a workplace life. This involves talking to people, running meetings, making policies, taking decisions, creating an ownership culture in an organization etc., that too at same place as colleagues without inciting savage rebellion but with a spirit of cooperation and collaboration. Here coaches can be of great help. Thus, Coaches help the Leaders to become better version of them.
Coaches help leaders to become better Listeners:
Listening is a natural gift of God, but most of the time we are fond of speaking than listening. Lest we realize that we are gifted with one mouth but two ears, suggesting us to listen more and speak less. Ironically, the higher we go in our corporate ladder the more we speak and the less we listen. We develop a habit of instructing, commanding, guiding, directing all focussing on self-speech. We listen that too to speak next. In the process, we miss the art of listening more and processing more. Here again a coach helps the leader to direct his energies towards listening. It is through listening that you understand your people, your processes and set your priorities straight. A coach might suggest the leader to undergo a leadership development program that helps you to develop your listening skills through various listening exercises.
Coaches help leaders to identify their areas of improvement:
Leadership is a lonely profile. You tend to develop others but in the process miss on your self-development. Coaches help leaders to identify their areas of improvement. And how do they do that? One is through self- awareness and the other is by asking powerful questions. These questions help you as leaders to explore more about you and identify the areas where you need to work upon. Although the idea of working single handedly and achieving the success, being at the top unaided is highly appealing, yet some support and an unconditional commitment from the coach goes a long way for the leader to continue towards his/her journey of achievement and success. When the leaders undergo such leadership and management courses, they are able to identify their areas of improvement and work in accordance.
Coaches help leaders to develop their interpersonal skills:
The role of the leader is to connect and to connect more with their subordinates, colleagues, peers, bosses and customers. Many a times leaders operate in an isolated environment. They are accustomed to giving instructions and orders but when to work on getting connected and collaborated. There is an old school of thought that if the leaders connect commonly with their subordinates they get the gaps reduced and become ineffective in getting the work done. But this is far from truth. Distance no longer implies authority, it implies disconnection. Interpersonal skills of the leader gain importance even at the time when leading through change. Faced with an uncertain situation, employees tend to become fearful and resentful, thereby and losing focus and motivation. Thus staying connected to your teams and making yourself available to your team is extremely important, but the question is how do you do this sincerely and how do you communicate effectively during difficult periods? This is where a coach can help a leader to build interpersonal skills. A coach helps the leader to consider their own attitudes and question their own assumptions. A coach will help you as a leader to see how visible and available you really are and make changes accordingly. Executive leadership training is a format wherein the leader gets an opportunity to learn and work on their own behaviour so as to make changes in accordance.
Coaches help leaders to deliver tangible results:
Leadership cannot be all about theory and learning’s only. It has to come to the lines wherein we can talk about the bottom lines, the return on the investments made. Although there haven’t been many studies in recent years measuring the return on investment in coaching, yet a definitive research done by PWC through international coach federation results prove that coaching benefits clients by more than 90%. 63% respondents also shared that coaching helped them in increasing perceptions by 63% and 50% responded that coaching helped them to improve their relationships within the team. Executives who receive coaching revert with many positive statements that help them to improve their perceptions, communication skills, performance and also making them happier. Leaders find coaches, who help them to create a better working environment, achieving goals, growing into a new role and changing approaches to work situations. Business leadership training further helps the leaders to work on their performance and deliver tangible, measurable improved results. Developing leadership skills is a unique art wherein a coach can play a tremendous role.
Above points give us an insight about how leaders too need someone to be with them at the top. They need people and companions too, who can be there with them, help them to identify their strengths and areas of improvement and how to work on them. Coaches also act as pillars of strength who have unbinding faith on their clients as leaders and also as their cheer leaders to support them and cheer them.
Honey Gudh (PCC – ICF Certified Coach)