If there was just one behaviour you could adopt as a leader that would be most helpful and beneficial in your role, what would you choose?

With more than 80 years of research on teams and organisation’s around the globe Gallup suggests it’s becoming more ‘coach like‘. In fact, they identified the shift from ‘boss’ to ‘coach’ as one of six key changing demands of the modern workforce.

I work with leaders as a coach and I train leaders to become more coach like, so I’ve seen the enormous value of that skill in action. And yet, it always astounds me how many people I work with that:

a.) Have never seen a coach like approach to leadership modelled to them.
b.) Had any training or investment to become more coach like in their role.

In Gallup’s research less than a quarter of the people they surveyed said they had this kind of conversation in the last 12 months.

It shouldn’t really come as a surprise considering that most of our career we are rewarded and recognised (even promoted) for our ability to provide answers and solutions.

We encourage people on our team to ‘come with solutions‘ and celebrate them when they do. So with that in mind it makes sense that we place an emphasis on ‘having all the answers‘ when we step up into leadership.

If we’re honest with ourselves for a moment, it feels nice to be needed. Which only reinforces the habit. So if we’re not there to solve problems then why are we the leader?

As a leader you’re there to develop problem solvers. And as validating as it might feel to give someone an answer, it’s not even close to the satisfaction you’ll feel helping them to discover that answer for themselves.

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Last year I interviewed Kendra Banks, Managing Director at seek.com and she told me:

The more senior you get the less sure you are of any answer because the problems get more complicated. There’s no one right answer, there’s always pros and cons to any decision. That’s where you have to draw on the power of collaboration.

As a leader our goal is to focus less on having the best answers and focus more on asking the best questions.

A question to reflect on:
“When was the last time I had an intentional coaching conversation with someone on my team?”