We are going to start by getting an understanding of the core skills required to be an effective leader of people.
Over the next few sessions we will go a little deeper into how you can use those skills in the areas of difficulty we have already discussed in this series; and the effect it will have on your results and the organization around you.
Lets start with performance coaching as a key leadership skill.
Perhaps it would be good to clarify what I mean by coaching, as the term is often used by managers these days to refer to giving their people instructions or training in on the job.
Coaching for us in the profession means taking a non-directive approach. Developing people by helping them with their thinking and enabling them to solve their own problems.
The simplest definition is:
Helping people to get clarity on where they are now, clarity in where they want to be in the future, then working with them to co-create a plan of how to get there.
If you have been exposed in any way to professional coaching, you will have heard about Coaching Models. There are many, 4 step, five step, seven step and with as complicated a bunch of acronyms as you could find anywhere.
Don’t worry, they are all the same, some just break the basic three steps down into more detail to help beginners see the detail. Which you use is just a question of personal preference.
The main process of coaching is to make people think. When they think, new neural pathways are created in their brains. Previously unconnected data becomes connected, resulting in new ideas and ways to solve their problems.
If as a manager you have ever found yourself complaining that “I keep telling them and telling them, and they still don’t do it.” You are seeing the effect of being directive, rather than coaching. When people come up with their own idea of how to do something, it is the option they believe in, and are therefore committed to doing. And therefore they take ownership.
When you insist they do it your way, there is no ownership by them, and if it fails, it will be your fault.
The next few articles will help you discover the core skills of coaching.