Changing your leadership approach from a boss to a coach shifts your mindset from managing workloads and directing others to empowering employees to achieve more.

As a leader, your brain is wired to answer questions, solve problems, and make decisions. To change these patterns – to learn how to pull insights out of your employees – you need to adopt beliefs that prompt you to explore their thoughts and ideas, not just spew out and give your own. 

First, let’s look at your own beliefs and mindset regarding learning and development and coaching your employees through a challenge or an issue.

Do you feel as though you have a growth or fixed mindset? Dr. Carol Dweck, author of Mindset – ​​The New Psychology of Success, coined these terms. She describes them as; a growth mindset is when you believe that you can do anything you set your mind to and are capable of developing your talents and abilities, as well as others. A fixed mindset is when one feels like people are born with their skills and the rest is out of their control.

A girl interviewing another girl

In a leadership role, having a fixed mindset can damage the evolution and success of the company and its employees. When someone has a fixed mentality, they tend to interpret challenges as failures when they can be using them as lessons to reflect on and grow. This mentality not only sets them back but can have a negative impact on everyone around them.

As leaders, we are so used to always giving the answers to our employees. 

However, it is crucial to realize that transitioning to a coach approach will help leaders engage with their employees more profoundly. Asking their employees questions to help them figure out the solutions themselves will empower them to find their own answers and achieve their goals. When you coach employees, you guide them to think harder and deeper on their own, rather than doing the thinking for them. A good coach can change a life. It gives employees the chance to learn the skills needed to succeed within the organization. “Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them” Timothy Gallwey.

“Let Me Do This For You”

The critical difference between a leader and a coach is that a leader will set the direction, but a coach will guide them and allow their employees to figure out how to solve their problems independently.

Most of the time, a leader takes on the role of the problem-solving hero. They come in and save the day and solve their employees’ challenges. Their help may tackle immediate issues, but this method does not teach people to be independent or self-reliant.  

When you solve your employees’ challenges, you are saying, “let me do this for you, as I think you lack the skills to figure it out yourself.” However, we all know that this way of thinking is unproductive and inefficient in the long run. If the leader holds all of the answers, the company will only ever be as successful as the leader is capable of making it. The company will not outperform the leader’s capabilities.

Leaders May Not be Giving Their Employees Space to Grow.

A coaching leader builds a positive climate by encouraging learning and development and teaching people how to learn on their own. Employees value personal development because it brings them a sense of fulfillment and delight. So, when employees are given the opportunity to broaden their knowledge and abilities in the workplace, it inspires and motivates them to contribute to the company’s success. This leadership style will coach employees, allow them to find their path, and empower them to handle job pressures and interpersonal conflicts. 

Leaders must incorporate emotional intelligence into their management style to ensure they are getting to the heart of the matter, diving in to find the root causes of their employees’ issues. The coachee must learn to find the answers while the coach simply asks thought-provoking questions to help them unearth their solutions.

How Do I Develop a Leader-Coach Approach?

Becoming a coaching leader does take commitment and time upfront, but the return on your investment is grand. As the coach, it is your job to uncover why someone feels the way they are feeling. Taking steps to ask thought-provoking questions rather than handing out the answers will help set up a collaborative and open work environment. As we move forward into this new way of leading, we must no longer fear emotions in the workplace; we must welcome them.  

I offer a Coaching in the Workplace Keynote that will teach you the steps and skills needed to start to have meaningful coaching conversations in your workplace. Coaching in the workplace is one of the many practices leaders need to learn and master to support their teams. It’s not how good you are that matters; it’s how good your employees can be and how well you can unleash their potential that counts. Coaching is increasingly relevant to developing people and to organizations as a whole. It can provide a new way to understand and assess people’s behaviours, leadership styles, attitudes, social skills, and performance potential.

Thought-Provoking Questions to Ask as a Coach:

What Do You Think Should Be Done?

Asking for their opinion will stop you from handing out your answer and putting thoughts in their head. Creating an environment of open communication and thoughtfulness allows the other person to sit with their thoughts and dive deeper. The younger generations have many new ideas and insights that you may not have; it is important to hear other perspectives when in a leadership role. It will allow your company to evolve with the quickly changing times.

What Can I Help You With?

Asking this question allows you to hold space for your employees to consider what they need help with. Often, the answer will not come immediately, so being patient is essential. Silence can be very powerful, and although it can feel like a very long pause in the conversation, sometimes the most incredible insights can come to the coachee when they have the time and space to reflect. 

What Is Getting In The Way Of You Being Your Best Self?

We all face issues at work, but pinpointing and expressing what they are can be difficult. Asking an employee this question allows them to think about the challenges they face, leading to understanding what steps are needed to realize their potential. 

When we focus on implementing a healthy coaching culture, it benefits the employee experience and strengthens the longevity and success of the company. When a leader lets go of control and welcomes new perspectives by nurturing each employee’s unique capabilities, the employee feels valued and strives to succeed. A company filled with driven, eager employees will inevitably be more profitable, productive, and scalable. 

A company on the rise is one that prioritizes employee growth and development. So, what is stopping you? Book a call with us here to begin improving your employee experience and development by teaching your leaders how to coach effectively using emotional intelligence.

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