Most leaders aren’t equipped to deal with the challenges they face today. The world of work is increasingly dynamic and constantly changing, accelerating the requirement for leaders and their teams to be agile, constantly learning, unlearning, and relearning. More and more, employees are expecting individualised development from their leaders equipping them for high performance and the ability to deal with the challenges of change – all within a trusting and supportive relationship. And it’s never been easier for them to find another employer if they don’t get it.
If you’re a leader of people, the result is that most you may experience one of, if not all the following challenges:
- struggle to find time to develop your people
- consistently find yourself solving other people's problems
- wish your staff would show more initiative
- you fear losing good, talented, and reliable people
- you wonder if you can develop leadership capability fast enough to navigate the organisational growth you are experiencing
Do you relate to any of those?
The challenge is that you can’t add more hours to the day, nor do you have the budget to hire someone to develop people full time. If you're like most leaders, you need to do more with less. To manage the workload, you find themselves doing what is quickest and easiest – directing staff and solving problems for others. Neither of which develops people.
The key to manage this pressure is to develop people whilst you lead them day-to-day. Few leaders have the skills to do it.
When you have coaching skills, every problem a team member brings is an opportunity for you to develop them and their leadership. In this way, you can develop your staff as you lead day-to-day whilst conducting business as usual.
Leaders that adopt this approach and intentionally use coaching skills are known as coaching leaders. The development journey of a coaching leader travels through five levels.
Level 1: Leaders at the lowest level do more harm than good. They are often completely focused on themselves, actively disregard opportunities to develop others, and aren’t aware of negative impact they have on their team. They are lost, not even aware of what coaching is, let alone its benefits.
Level 2: Aware of their need for development, Level 2 leaders are trying to improve but often don’t know how. These leaders are learning the value of coaching by being coached themselves. Their own performance is beginning to increase as they learn how to be more proactive and solve their own problems by practicing the leadership skills developed in coaching.
Level 3: At level 3, leaders are confident in their own technical proficiency and ability to get tasks done. However, they now realise it’s their ability to lead people that will drive future performance rather than their personal ability to execute. They begin to focus on developing their own coaching skillset shifting their attention to coaching people. This is where they start to elevate their team’s proactivity and performance, drawing the best out of individuals and harnessing the collective brilliance of team.
Level 4: Level 4 leaders are strategic in their thinking and passionate about developing people. When these leaders begin to coach others to coach, they shift from developing high performing individuals and teams to developing leaders and leadership teams who develop other high performing teams. Their focus is embedding coaching practices and behaviours into the way their teams operate.
Level 5: The influence of level 5 coaching leaders is felt well beyond their own team or department. Coaching for these leaders is a tool to lift people’s thinking, inspiring strategic leaders who focus on developing culture, people, and performance, organisation wide. For these leaders, coaching has become the default approach to continuously improve themselves, the people they lead and the organisations they are part of.
The more a leader coaches, the greater the performance of their teams and the more value their leadership generates for the organisation. At Lumian, we've developed the Coaching Leader Program to help leaders to start their journey and progress through these levels.
The Coaching Leader Program is internally run and seeks develop leaders through a four-stage process.
The first stage is to establish a foundation for coaching in your organisation. This is where we introduce the concept of coaching and train leaders how to use basic coaching skills with their staff.
For leaders to really understand the process and benefits associated with coaching, they need to experience it themselves. The experience stage provides leaders with the experience of being coached and the experience of coaching others.
The third stage continues the evolution towards a coaching leader by consolidating initial experiences and further equipping leaders with advanced coaching techniques. It is at this stage that leaders begin to consider how they can pass their coaching skills on to others.
Finally coaching needs to be embedded within the culture and ways of working across the organisation. This is where we start to explore how coaching can be incorporated into the systems and structures across the business.
We've seen some amazing results with leaders over the years this program has been run. There are some great stories of the impact it has had on the lives of individual leaders and entire organisations.
Many of these stories are captured in my book coming out in November. One of my favourites is how the skills developed through the program meant I became a verb.
Here's how the CEO of that organisation described it…
“When the name of your coach becomes a verb in your organisation you know that you are onto something good and that a measurable impact on your culture is being made. Regularly hearing the phrases, “I have been Cliffed”, or “You’re pulling a Cliff on me,” is evidence the program provided common ground for people to build their knowledge and understanding of coaching frameworks and that they were applying them. This has allowed my leaders and their teams to implement new ideas and techniques that have really made a difference in a safe and peer supported environment.”
If you're interested in learning more about the Coaching Leader Program and are keen to experience the transformation it will provide your organisation, you FIND OUT MORE HERE. Alternatively, if you have any questions, you can schedule a call with me to have a chat.