Updated for use in our Leading Through COVID series.
This is the final week in our six part series about leadership styles. We’ll be using the six Leadership Styles as defined by Daniel Goleman in his book Primal Leadershipand we’ll be exploring how each of those different leadership styles can be useful during this new abnormal. Each is rarely used alone and none of them should be used all the time. The goal is to develop your ability to use each style so that you can apply the right leadership style to each situation. Every week we will focus on a different style, helping you to understand the style itself and when and where it is needed. We’ve already covered Affiliative, Visionary, Pacesetting, Democratic, and Commanding, this week we’ll focus on the Coaching Style.
Someone who exhibits the Coaching Style of leadership is focused on developing others. They want to help their employees grow to be the best that they can be. They have deep conversation with employees about their long term goals and work to create action plans to help them reach them. They continually connect with employees and discuss their progress. Coaches help their employees understand their strengths and weaknesses and help them improve in the areas that the employee wants to.
Coaching is a leadership style that is effective in most situations, but is even more so during this pandemic. People need more support than ever before. They need their leaders to show a genuine interest in them, their lives and what they’re going through. It will not only improve the relationship with each employee but it will also show that the company and leader believe in and are willing to invest in them. This helps engage the employee as well as raise their level of personal accountability. So even though the coach is not specifically focused on hard numbers or deadlines, employees do not want to let their coach down and their performance naturally improves. Leaders who exhibit the coaching style are great at getting the best out of their employees.
There are some situations where Coaching can go awry though. If a leader is too focused on short term targets (as opposed to long term growth and development), employees may feel that they are just being used for the good of the company, and not their own personal growth. Coaching can also turn into micromanaging if the leader is not willing to accept small errors as growth opportunities and instead looks at them as unacceptable.
Keep in mind that coaching people right now may need to be less ambitious than normal. People just don’t have the bandwidth for growth that they might under normal circumstances. Make sure that you’re balancing helping your employees grow with their capacity at this time.
If you’re interested in learning what style of leader you are, take our Leadership Styles quiz here.