“You’re a leadership coach – what does that mean?” is a question often asked. The essence of leadership coaching is creating a space for clients to explore what it means to be a leader and then to support and act as a catalyst for clients as they journey to become the intentional, leader their life requires of them – inside and outside of the workplace.
Leadership is fundamentally about how you point and connect with others: where are you pointing with your values and purpose, how you encourage courageous conversations, create alignment, speak truth, and nurture others. It is how do you show up and connect with others when doing this. But, as the language highlights, this is only the DOING of leadership.
As a Leadership Coach, I am always curious about who the person needs to BE in order to DO the leadership their circumstances require of them. This inside-out approach to leadership holds that you do what you are: that the world will see what we are on the inside through our actions of the outside. What we do to connect with, align with and influence others, the manner in which we speak truth, our approach to developing others – how we move forward with others is a function of our values, beliefs, world-view and self-view.
The challenge for many of us is to become aware of our default comfort zones – our values and beliefs about the others and the world, to get clarity around how these support and hinder us, and to create a scaffold which enables us to act from a place of honesty, authenticity, and real connection to connect with others around us. The role of a leadership Coach is to enable this by creating the space for the client to explore who they are and what they do – discovery and awareness – so as to allow them to make conscious, intentional choices about their actions and behaviour.
This means that the main focus of coaching isn’t about fixing or solving problems, although problems are often solved. Nor is coaching “primarily about improving performance, attaining goals, or achieving results, although all of that will certainly happen over time in an effective Co-Active coaching relationship.” The Leadership Model from which I lead through my coaching holds that coaching “is a way of effectively empowering people to find their own answers, encouraging and supporting them on the path as they continue to make important life-giving and life-changing choices." Thus, the INSIDE and OUTSIDE, the BEING and the DOING, what we ARE and what we DO both matter. The deepening of our knowledge of ourselves and then bringing conscious, intentional behaviour to our world is crucial to becoming the leader you your organisation and world needs you to be.
The role of a Leadership Coach is to hold the space for this to happen and support leaders on that journey.