Sunday, December 9, 2012

Is Coaching your Leadership Style

The style is the dress of thought.             -Lord Chesterfield

There's a lot of leadership brainstorming, from character-based leaders to charismatic leaders, from authentic leaders to purpose-driven leaders, from global leaders to level five leaders, besides leadership substance, leadership style also matters, the research discovered that a leader/manager’s leadership style was responsible for 30% of the company’s bottom-line profitability! 

1. Three Styles of Leadership

Kurt Lewin, a psychologist set out to identify three styles of leadership in 1930th:

  • Authoritarian Leadership (Autocratic): Authoritarian leaders, also known as autocratic leaders, provide clear expectations for what needs to be done when it should be done, and how it should be done. There is also a clear division between the leader and the followers. Authoritarian leaders make decisions independently with little or no input from the rest of the group. It seems to be the leadership style being adopted in the hierarchical structure in the industrial era. 
  • Participative leadership (democratic leadership), is generally the most effective leadership style. Democratic leaders offer guidance to group members, but they also participate in the group and allow input from other group members. More specifically, the “coaching” style we discuss here fits in here.
  • Delegative leaders (laisse-fair leadership), offer little or no guidance to group members and leave the decision-making up to group members. While this style can be effective in situations where group members are highly qualified in an area of expertise, it could be effective only at a very high mature organization with self-managing teams.

2. What is Exactly Coaching Style?

The coaching leader develops people for the future. It’s a democratic style to guide, participate and motivate teams.
  • The benefit of Coaching Style:  It is developing the employees (in terms to make them real performers). The coach/mentor can show the team how to explore their own natural skill sets, talents, and strong sides, take into account their own objectives in line with working needs. Additionally, to show them that there is always a way to earn what they dream of - if they are willing to spend the time and energy in self-development. 
  • Coaching doesn't mean micro-managing, it means to encourage the team to always embrace another point of view, and help glue a clear and more colorful picture for business growth; and cultivate the culture of learning and be agile to adapt to the changes. "The illiterates of the 21st century won't be the ones who do not know how to read or write but the ones who can't learn, unlearn and relearn.".
  • Coaching is about guiding you through, not always walking you through. Investing in people on a daily basis has a far greater impact than can be measured by the metrics and short-term deliverables that drive many organizations. Spending the time to guide people towards connecting the dots of “why and how” instead of only being focused on “what and when” will have lasting effects.
  • The Coach: Listens a lot, Asks, Prevents, Explores, Seeks commitment, Challenges, Works with, Puts process first, Seeks results, Takes responsibility, Makes contact.
  • The coach leads by asking: "How would you like to do it?", "Are there any other ways of doing it?", "Can you compare them?", "Which is best?”, also, continue to update her/his own knowledge, coach and learn at the same time. 

3. The Five Quotes about Leadership Style

  • Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.     --John F. Kennedy
  • The leader shows that style is no substitute for substance, that creating an impression is more potent than acting from one’s center.      --Lao Tzu
  • “Style” is an expression of individualism mixed with charisma. Fashion is something that comes after style.                                         ---John Fairchild
  • The style is a simple way of saying complicated things.             --Jean Cocteau
  • The style is the dress of thought.             --Lord Chesterfield


A leadership coach can help you hone in on your most compelling attributes while you simultaneously harness your ability to motivate and inspire. An executive coach can be instrumental to helping an organization succeed in today's highly competitive business environment.

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