Leadership is highly sought after in the business world but despite its demand, remains a skill that many have yet to truly polish. Every organisation has leaders but not all are effective in their position and lead to success for themselves or others.
How can leadership skills be honed and sharpened? We believe that for leadership to be effective and transformative, it must be paired with a coaching mindset. In this article, we will explain what a coaching mindset is, the skills leaders are expected to have today and how a coaching mindset can help train them, the benefits of coaching mindsets and tips on developing one.
What is a coaching mindset?
A coaching mindset is a mindset that embraces continuous learning and development, not just for yourself but for the people you are leading. Leaders with a coaching mindset would coach their teams to be open to new opportunities and learn new skills while putting in actionable plans to achieve their goals. Instead of being focused on thinking for the team, a leader would provoke insight in the team by trying to understand their ideas.
In today's competitive environment, coaching is a necessary skill for all leaders. A coach does not just teach or give feedback on how to do something better; they create an environment where others can learn and grow. Leaders now have the responsibility to lead their team to success, while investing in the professional development of their subordinates and teams. It may sound impossible, but that's where a coaching mindset comes in useful.
Benefits of having a coaching mindset as a leader
A coaching mindset is beneficial for leaders because it allows them to be more emotionally agile and better equipped to handle difficult situations. Generally, a coaching mindset leads to increased empathy, compassion, and flexibility in the leader, on top of organizational benefits.
Ultimately, the benefits of a coaching mindset go beyond just the recipient itself - it also benefits the team and organization as a whole.
Here are some benefits that come with adopting a coaching mindset:
A coaching mindset helps you to be a more successful leader
A coaching mindset can help you be more successful as a leader by helping you to have a strong belief in the power of coaching, be willing to be open and honest with your team, understand their perspectives, and commit to delivering value. With a coaching mindset, you will be able to develop yourself and your team members, as well as challenge them in a way that leads to the highest levels of performance.
A coaching mindset helps you to see that everyone has the potential to develop, and it can help you find ways of helping your team members improve their performance - whether they're already doing well or they're struggling.
A coaching mindset helps you with communication abilities
Coaching is a collaborative relationship which it requires a two-way conversation for it to be successful. Therefore, the leader must understand how to communicate effectively to have conversations that can help improve others and themselves, leading to better outcomes.
Communicating as a leader is not just telling or instructing; it involves questioning, listening and learning together.
A great leader is also a great communicator. Adopting a coaching mindset helps leaders develop, challenge and support others by engaging them in meaningful conversations about what they want to achieve and how they can improve. Leaders with a coaching mindset would know how to give effective feedback to others around them and also be open to receiving them in kind, leading to improvement from everyone in their work.
A coaching mindset helps you to be more flexible in thinking
A coaching mindset helps you to be more flexible in thinking because it requires you to be open and receptive to feedback. It questions your current underlying beliefs and assumptions to understand the way you think, before working to improve it.
Coaching can teach people how to have more flexible views of themselves and the world and make better decisions based on their goals. A coaching mindset helps individuals to shift their perspective and grow beyond their limiting beliefs. The process of coaching can lead to a more flexible and growth-oriented view of oneself and the world - fundamentally shifting how one views oneself and others, leading to positive ripple effects in the future. A coaching mindset can therefore lead to better decision-making, more effective problem-solving, and more flexible approaches.
As a leader, a coaching mindset allows you to challenge your own thinking and the way you lead, as well as the thinking of others. It also helps you to develop a more open relationship with people in which they feel comfortable challenging you and telling you what they think.
The ability to develop a coaching mindset is an essential part of being able to lead effectively in today's complex and fast-changing world, where few things are predictable anymore. Therefore it is essential to be open and flexible at all times.
A coaching mindset helps you adapt to change more easily
Change is the only constant in everything - and adapting to change isn't usually easy. However, a coaching mindset can help with it by preparing yourself to embrace change instead of seeing it as a threat, and you can then use the renewed mindset to help your team members embrace change too.
A coaching mindset can help you to develop yourself as a leader too, because it helps you to keep learning and developing your skills and knowledge for the benefit of
Best ways to start developing a coaching mindset
With all the benefits of a coaching mindset laid out, how does one go about developing it? Here are three great ways to get started.
Take time to increase awareness of your thoughts, feelings and actions
Everything starts with yourself. Who you are, your motivations, your values, and your beliefs. These are the building blocks of your leadership style. To build a coaching mindset, knowing yourself is imperative. This is a simple idea that can be challenging to put into practice because it means you have to take responsibility for your actions, and you have to be willing to challenge yourself.
It is far from easy but cultivating a coaching mindset requires accountability to yourself to be open to learning and continuous improvement. To self-improve, you'd need to introspect and be aware of your thinking patterns, emotions and actions. This can be done by reflecting on yourself regularly, such as journaling, to get to know yourself.
Once aware of the way you think, communicate, etc, you would be better able to give effective feedback to others, be open to new ideas, and use your strengths to empower others.
Stay curious and challenge assumptions
The first step is to hold back from giving advice or solutions and actively listen to others instead of jumping to give an opinion or a solution. We are all wired to find solutions the moment a problem presents itself, but it helps to take a step back to truly listen to what people are saying. Continuous self-reflection, asking for feedback, and holding back judgement and solutions given are key to developing a long-term coaching mindset.
Challenging your beliefs is difficult as we tend to think of ourselves as objective, unbiased individuals. The truth is far from it - we are influenced by our pre-existing beliefs and we interpret observations that conform to these beliefs. Challenging your assumptions would require noticing unproductive beliefs and replacing them.
Building a coaching mindset helps to be curious about the world around you and be aware of your own beliefs to understand what’s happening. Asking questions like ‘why’ and ‘what if’ to find the root cause of an issue helps everyone to move forward. Curious leaders are likelier to solve problems, making their company more efficient, profitable, and therefore successful.
Be open to feedback from your team to get more insights
A great way to develop a coaching mindset is by being open to feedback and willing to give it in return. It can be difficult for some people, especially if they have been successful for a long time, but it can be the best way to develop others. When you are open to feedback and give it in return, you will create a coaching culture that is less of a dictatorship and more of a collaboration.
If something isn’t working, leaders with a coaching mindset are more likely to ask for feedback than to assume everything is fine because the current method has always worked in the past. They ask for feedback because they know that things change, and so no two situations can be resolved in the same way. They also understand that just like everyone else, they are not infallible. They are a work-in-progress, and they need feedback just as much as others do to improve themselves and their leadership.
Interested in cultivating a coaching mindset?
When leaders adopt a coaching mindset, they give their employees a chance to grow and develop into more effective workers. Everyone stands to gain from it.
Let us help you get started on building a coaching mindset for you and the leaders in your organisation. A multi-award-winning boutique transformational leadership development and executive coaching company, Coaching Go Where takes pride in helping leaders accomplish extraordinary results, outclass their competition, and reinvent industries.
Contact us here to find out more about our professional coaching programs!