Effective leaders have several approaches in their toolkit. Sometimes they give direction, sometimes they need to delegate, and sometimes they choose to collaborate.
Coaching is another powerful tool in an effective leader’s toolkit.
Long considered a “nice to have” soft skill, recent research shows that coaching is actually one of the most powerful tools to increase engagement, strengthen relationships, generate ownership, and support team members.
At its core, coaching is about building productive and enduring relationships, helping colleagues understand what they want and what stands in their way, and supporting people to be maximally effective. It’s a crucial leadership skill.
And yet, leaders are rarely taught how to coach. Many organizations teach leaders how to navigate conflict, give tough feedback, delegate, and communicate effectively. Layering in coaching skills takes all of this to the next level.
Coaching skills are like rocket fuel in a leader’s capabilities.
At The Boda Group, we’re both leaders and certified coaches. We understand many of the challenges and opportunities our clients face, because we’ve been there. We’ve been trained, and we’ve logged thousands of hours coaching leaders. We can help leaders develop coaching skills to improve their interaction with other leaders, teams, and the organization.
Built on a foundation of rigorous research, A Coaching Approach for Leaders is taught by a group of certified and very experienced coaches. The intent is not to make leaders into professional coaches, but to equip them with the knowledge and the skills that will enable them to coach, motivate, and engage the people they work with.
Coaching sounds easy, and yet we find that most leaders struggle mightily with really listening, being empathetic, and asking helpful questions. Perhaps most difficult of all is resisting the urge to give advice or just solve the problem themselves.
The Coaching Approach for Leaders program spans six months and includes:
- Four half-day sessions, spread out over time to give leaders a chance to digest, reflect, question, practice, and deepen their skills.
- Targeted pre-work and assignments before and after each session.
- Matching each leader to a “coachee” in the organization with whom the leader practices their coaching skills throughout the program. This is typically a volunteer and is always outside the leader’s team. (This is where leaders get uncomfortable. They’re often fine with sitting in a class and learning these skills on an intellectual level, but having to practice with colleagues raises the stakes and the intensity—and greatly increases their ability to build and retain the skills.)
- Periodic outreach from the Boda coaches with relevant research, ideas and suggestions to reinforce core skills and mindsets.
- Office hours with the Boda coaches, so leaders can “drop in” with questions or reflections on their coaching practice.
Participants discuss the theoretical and research-based foundation of coaching with each other and the Boda coaches, but the real focus is hands-on practice with real people and real issues. The leaders don’t role-play imaginary coaching situations; they dig into their actual, current challenges.