Why Leaders Need Coaching More than Ever
By: Patty Prosser
Over the last 18 months, we have seen a shift in what our current clients want from coaching experiences, as well as a greater number of individuals reaching out for coaching support. The pandemic has had a lasting effect on the business environment, with major shifts happening in how we work and where we work. With that, more leaders are looking for support to help enhance the employee work experience and assist their people in managing productivity, outcomes, and quality. As companies move to a “new normal” with more hybrid and staggered work environments, we are seeing the need for leaders to learn to be more empathetic in how they are leading their teams, especially as they continue to deal with uncertainty and ambiguity. Techniques and skill-building in areas considered “soft skills” have increasingly become the focus of coaching engagements, particularly areas like communication skills, providing meaningful feedback, making employees feel “safe”, and supporting employee well-being.
In a recent engagement the organization identified a need to help one of its key leaders develop techniques that showed greater empathy, because of some employee survey feedback. The employee culture had shifted in recent years, and this leader’s “command and control” style was identified as a source of continuous complaints. Fortunately, this leader welcomed the offer of coaching.
Together we developed an Action Plan that included sharing his commitment to developing behaviors designed to demonstrate greater “care and concern” for members of his team. We worked on ways that he could better model being a more empathetic leader; he also gave his team permission to respectfully “call him out” if they felt something different. With continued effort, this leader began to see the positive effects of his behaviors on his team.
This leader began looking for examples of empathy between colleagues as a way to reinforce the behavior throughout the organization. He started employing the same behaviors in meetings and with others within the organization, as well. As a result, the organization has seen a shift in the culture of the organization.
We know that everything has changed in today’s business environment from the shift in where people work to navigating the important and complex issues of equity and inclusion. Leaders need an external resource to help them adapt, upskill, and rethink how they lead in this new landscape. An Executive or Leadership Coach can be particularly valuable in providing greater self-awareness, acting as a sounding board, providing systems to approach challenges from new perspectives, learning new skills, and unlocking potential.
Our coaches have a variety of experiences and certifications, but each has practical, hands-on experience “in the trenches” that they can draw from to help leaders achieve their desired outcomes. Providing the investment in an external coach for your leaders can assure a win-win outcome that benefits both the individual leader and organization amid any challenging business environment.