What is a leadership development coach?

As a professional coach and lecturer in leadership competencies, I meet people from all walks of life, and the two questions I am most often asked are:

  1. What is a leadership development coach?
  2. How will coaching benefit me?

Usually, the word ‘coach’ conjures the image of a sports coach – an expert who has the knowledge to instruct you on improving your game. A leadership development coach is not the expert on your game – you are. A leadership coach helps you facilitate and design the process of how to get from where you are now as a leader, to where you want to be.

The tallest trees get the most wind

Leadership can often be a lonely position loaded with responsibility – testing your softer skills to the max while you perform the tasks in your official job description. As your coach, I act as your thinking partner above all else. I’m here to be your sounding board in a personal and confidential space where you can explore and develop all the potential already available to you: ultimately to help you commit to action and achieve, or exceed, your goals.

If you’re asking: Do I Need a Coach? you probably do. Here’s Why.

  1. Leaders themselves need to be good coaches as a way of life.

    “As a senior manager, I am required to do more and more coaching; I need to fill the performance gap by coaching my staff to gain insight and find solutions for themselves – I don’t know how to do this.”
    Sound familiar? You clearly have a developed sense of self awareness and realise you want to be even more effective leader than you are now.

  2. Leaders need softer-than-soft soft skills

    In the words of the administrative head of a medical unit, “Before I found a coach, I found human interaction at times extremely gut-wrenching, due not only to my lack of management training, but a lack of deep self-awareness and poor interpersonal relationships. Through coaching, I have learned that I need to lead in a way that people feel empowered and not impose my own ideas on them.”

  1. Leaders need to hone core skills
    • Listening.
    • Self-reflection.
    • Daily practices.
  2. Leaders need nurturing, too

    A key time to consider coaching is when you know that you are in a rut. A client once told me that “after eighteen years in the banking industry, I started feeling I was not growing or gaining any knowledge to help me transcend and contribute better to my colleagues in the business.”Another client describes how, after years of driven success, his health took a nosedive. “I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and muscle tremors associated with work-related stress. My relationship with my wife was at its lowest. Finding a good coach saved my life, literally – and my marriage! I learned how to ask for help, to be vulnerable without feeling like a total failure. I learned to delegate better, that I did not always have to be the expert – and this took a huge weight off me. I learned to coach others in my team to come up with their own solutions, and transformed the way we interact for the better.”

Also read: Burn-out: it’s not all in your head

Taking on a coach is not a sign of weakness as a leader in your organisation. It’s a message to everyone who does business with you that you are motivated and invested in not only your own development and success, but also the success of your team and the business. That kind of positive example and enthusiasm is contagious. I invite you to give a reputable coach a try and watch the positive impact it will have in all areas of your life.


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