The Leader as Coach


“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh,” he whispered. “Yes, Piglet?” “Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw, “I just wanted to be sure of you.”

How does a leader establish themselves as that constant, supportive champion of someone’s success? What are the elements that need to be in place in order to be the leader  who is trusted, respected and believed in?  What does being a leader mean?  How does a great leader use coaching to produce exceptional results?

Recent events in the middle east are great examples of leadership established by using tyranny and fear as the foundation.  While effective in the short term, this form of leadership is destructive, demoralizing and is destined to fail.  Once courage overtakes fear then this leadership style  is totally vulnerable.  The lack of any motivation except fear combined with a population/workforce that is well educated, the onset of economic upheaval and a tech savvy young population sets the stage for a magnificent implosion.   The fact is, if trust and respect are absent ,  leadership is just a fleeting illusion.

When a leader needs to hold tight to leadership then true authentic leadership can’t be present.  What is present is a leadership model motivated by self preservation.  The “me politique” drives a primary goal aimed at maintaining control and position at any cost.  This narrow approach permeates the leadership model and result in a highlighted sense of  distrust and turmoil.  The result,  a lack of vision, an unreasonable fear of  necessary risk taking, a limited vision of the human potential within the organization  and stagnant growth.  The bottom line is compromised and change and flexibility become virtually impossible.

Today’s workforce is highly educated, tech savvy, team focused and have high expectations.  These traits are all requirements needed to work  and win in the knowledge based cerebral world of work in the 21st century.    An autocratic, top down leader will have a static and under utilized/ under functioning, unhappy and disengaged workforce.

The leader who is able to embrace the concept of new technology, team approaches, flexible and calculated risk exploration, one who works hard to preserve security and loyalty as an integral component of the companies philosophy,  is the leader who can build a company destined to win.

The leader as an engaged and and active coach rather than a distant, stiff, authoritative  figure will be embraced and respected in the new work order.  In effect the leader who  builds a structure that allows the team to work at their best will lead a winning company.  The new leader as coach will require attributes like these:

  • Knowledgeable  but not expert
  • Leads by example
  • Truly inclusive
  • Curious
  • Drive for success through vision rather than bottom line-absolute confidence that one will lead to the other
  • Solicit democratic discussion and ideas
  • Challenge the status quo/complacency
  • Challenge every employee, student or teacher to succeed and be part of creating the larger success
  • Active and engaged listener
  • Encourages the organization, it’s participants and it’s goals forward though focused conversation and connection from senior management to front line
  • Believes in the power of collective thought and team work to drive goals forward
  • Encourages innovation-trusts that outside the box  thinking has a place  and is often where great ideas are born
  • Is authentic -no one is afraid to make the connection
  • Creates an atmosphere where all feel pride in the accomplishments of the company

Coaching is one tool that can set a foundation for success in this new world of work. Today’s leader is best suited to lead if they are authentically engaged and motivated so that those they are leading can truly be sure of them!