The Leader as Coach
In this world there are two kinds of leaders one who loves to collaborate and partner along and second who loves to direct and are control freaks in nature.
If partnering and collaboration are more gratifying to you rather than directing and controlling then I hope next few minutes would be helpful for you and if you are among the second group, please pay attention , you may find something interesting.
Most of us see ourselves taking leadership positions in near future and some are already in leadership role and Toastmasters gives us platform to practice and hone our leadership skills. Among team management, time management, stress management, project management, some XYZ management and lot of etc etc imaginable managements ….. . the most important responsibility is to grow and develop the team.
Henry Kissinger, a German born Noble prize winner American writer has once “The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been. “
As a leader, you are measured, recognized and rewarded not for what you do, but for the accomplishments and achievements of the people you lead. If you want to achieve your goals, you must do everything you can to help your team succeed. If you consider present and past great leader they are alike in 3 areas.
- They provide a clear direction through their mission and vision.
- They foster collaboration through team building, delegation and coaching.
- They motivate team members to achieve by providing feedback, support, recognizing and by resolving conflict.
Many of the world’s greatest leaders say that their team growth is how they measure their own success. Dhoni is considered as the most successful Indian Cricket captain of all times. Not just because he ia great player & his hair styles are trendsetters, even his bald look is still in fashion. But because under his captainship India has won world cup , Twenty 20 world cup , so many series and has set records.
Following Henry Kissinger’s advice , when you coach others to reach their potential you are helping world’s future leaders to gain strength and skills to succeed. You are writing new success stories. People have more potential in them than they currently show in their lives. If they only knew how to surface their potentials they would have already done so. But the ground reality is that most of them don’t. If provided coaching they get to surface their greatest potential.
Looking for the most convinciable example of being leader as a coach & writing history, I am able to pick a name close to Indian hearts – Kabir Khan ( sattar minutes ….. Chak De India) . He proved his innocence, his capability , his patriotism by coaching women hockey team and lead them to the path less travelled …. Indian Women Hockey team won 2002 Commonwealth Games.
Some leaders are fortunate enough to get formal training in coaching skills, many are not. They have to develop these for themselves.
If you search the techniques on internet you will find numerous tools and techniques which will help you to learn to trust your instincts to become a better coach and so enhance your team’s performance.
Does this sound daunting? Indeed it is.
We are talking about how to grow the capabilities of a team and help them achieve what might they have just dreamt. After searching a lot , the easiest approach to implement and to remember , I got was the GROW Model.
GROW is an acronym standing for Goal – Current Reality – Options – Will.
The model is a simple yet powerful framework for structuring a coaching or mentoring session.
A useful metaphor for the GROW model is the plan you might make for an important journey. First, you start with a map: With this, you help your team member decide where they are going (their Goal) and establish where they currently are (their Current Reality). Then you explore various ways (the Options) of making the journey. In the final step, establishing the Will, you ensure your team member is committed to making the journey and is prepared for the conditions and obstacles they may meet on their way.
How to use GROW model ?
First , you will help your team member define a goal that is specific, measurable and realistic.
In doing this, it is useful to ask questions like:
- “How will you know that you have achieved that goal?”
- “How will you know the problem is solved?”
Examine Current Reality
As the team member tells you about his or her Current Reality, the solution may start to emerge.
Useful coaching questions include:
- “What is happening now?”
- “What, who, when, how often”
- “What is the effect or result of that?”
Explore the Option
By all means, offer your own suggestions. But let your team member offer his or hers first, and let him or her do most of the talking.
Typical questions used to establish the options are:
- “What else could you do?”
- “What if this or that constraint were removed?
- “What are the benefits and downsides of each option?”
- What factors will you use to weigh up the options?
Establishing The Will
By examining Current Reality and exploring the Options, your team member will now have a good idea of how he or she can achieve their Goal. That’s great – but in itself, this may not be enough! So your final step as coach is to get you team member to commit to specific action. In so doing, you will help the team member establish his or her will and motivation.
- “So what will you do now, and when?
- “What could stop you moving forward?”
- “And how will you overcome it?”
- “Will this address your goal?”
- “How likely is this option to succeed?”
- “What else will you do?”
So ready to go , hold on !!
Beware of common mistakes :
- Assuming everyone is coachable
- Overestimating the short term results from coaching
- Assuming every situation provides the opportunity for coaching
- Failing to establish rapport which creates the trusting space for coaching to occur
- Failing to get others’ permission to coach them
- Confusing coaching with training or supervision
Benefits of Coaching
Again , investment done in coaching results in improved performance. This investment reaps other benefits too.
a) High Morale : When everyone is working together and achieving goals, team members feel good about their work .
b) Empowerment . People feel confident and willingly accept more responsibility.
c) Development. Team members learn and improve. As they grow, they become more creative and are able to contribute even more.
Does it sounds good ? Here is lot more to it…… Team productivity increases, and the team complete tasks to your expectations . As their skills increase, you can delegate more so you have more time for other leadership responsibilities.
Lets accept the situation, world needs strong , competent leaders now more than ever before. Effective leaders not only in government and industry but even in our civic organizations and toastmasters. At the end of every year, Toastmasters international rewards titles to every club –be Distinguished, Select Distinguished or President Club . The difference between successful clubs like this and unsuccessful clubs is the quality of leadership within the club. Being a leader its your duty to ensure you do everything possible to improve the performance of your team and……………………… to take them where they have not been.
PS : This article was my speech as one of the projects required for ALB (Advance Leader Bronze) Certification by Toastmasters. I hereby completed my ALB , yeah !!
- The Pains of Leadership (sergoh.wordpress.com)
- Resolving Conflicts (saakshinagpal.wordpress.com)
- My Toastmasters Speech: The Suspense is Over (nonsensetomomsense.com)