Some leaders just have it naturally. Some gain the ability through practice and experience. Others will never have it and are not even interested. I’m talking about the most important leader skill of this decade and its complexity.
If more and more challenges are solved by high performing teams, we need leaders capable of leading these teams to excel. This is about the ability to help people grow and flourish – to perform their very best. To lead the team as a coach. But what does that really mean?
To coach is to release the full potential within others, to get them to perform everything they are capable of. It’s also about helping others to learn something by themselves, not about teaching them and serve them with solutions.
Every single one of us has the capability to perform far better than we can imagine. Great coaches are well aware of this, and that’s why they can bring out the best in others.
To become a successful coach it requires you to believe in other people’s abilities, even though they seem completely dormant. I fact, you have to truly believe in others because it will shine through if you fake it – even trying really hard won’t suffice. Only truly believing in people will have a positive impact on and strengthen their self-confidence, which in turn will lead to higher performance.
Coaching is also about letting go of your own need to control others (most of us do have a little control freak inside us). To strengthen other people’s self-confidence, you’ve got to start believing that things will work out just fine even if the outcome does not turn out exactly how you were picturing. Is there a chance it might even turn out to be a better and more creative alternative solution that benefits the whole organization?
One of the most beautiful things we can do for others is helping them become better than our selves. We become very proud when our children outsmart us. But what if we were to be as proud when we see employees develop, perform and grow beyond us?
The sad truth is that all too often, our own fear gets in the way. We become afraid of losing our job, authority, dignity and our own confidence. But if you are still reading this, I think you are ready to change, and learn more about coaching your employees.
Here are three useful tips to help you get started. As a leader wanting to act more as a coach for your team, you can start to raise employees’ self-confidence by:
- Making sure they successfully manage their tasks. They need to have clear goals and expectations and believe they can handle it. One suggestion is to set goals and expectations together with the employee. Don’t be afraid to encourage and give feedback to them on the way to fulfill their goals.
- Encouraging them to make their own decisions. Support them and show that you believe in them. Let them know that their success comes from within them selves.
- Treating everyone equal – regardless of title, education, and age. Communicate that everyone in the team is important, valuable and there for a reason.
It doesn’t sound very hard, right? Well, there is one tricky trap that might stop us from being the best we can. Don’t fall into the bad habit of telling people what to do and how. It’s tempting of course, because it will make you indispensible for your employees.
Everyone wants to feel indispensible now and then, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
But, it can subconsciously feed your ego and give an illusion of power, and it will in fact also for a short period help your employees to perform. Thus, in the long term, they will become dependent on you for every decision, which will only increase your own workload and ability to work strategically.
I guess that you’d rather want to be able to look ahead, keeping track of your competitors, deciding what the next move is, than to drown in e-mail CCs and operational questions.
So – start coaching today by raising your employees self-confidence!
I look forward to hear your coaching stories! Have you ever had a fantastic leader that really brought out the best in you? What did that person do that was so great? Look around you, get inspired and learn from other leaders. Do not hesitate to leave a comment below!
/Johanna, CMO at Prindit