Leadership Coaching: An Insider’s Guide

What Exactly Is Leadership Coaching?

In the broadest sense, whenever you are working with someone acting in a coaching or mentoring capacity in an ongoing relationship to; raise your awareness, grow as a human being, develop your leadership skills and effectiveness, work through some of the common challenges managers and leaders face, close gaps between where you are now and where you want to be, translate goals into specific actions, change behavior, increase the impact you are having, and generally get better results – you could be considered to be engaged in some form of leadership coaching.

Who Seeks Coaching leadership coach

Most clients that come to leadership coaching tend to be proactive and take their growth and development seriously. They are typically open-minded, high performers who are used to seeking out the best support and training available. However, a percentage of coaching clients may also be noticing elevated levels of stress or perhaps some early symptoms of disengagement or burnout.

Coaching is most valuable on the more important challenges clients face, or the bigger changes they seek to make, where they do not seem to be making the progress they desire. Generally speaking, the bigger the emotional investment in reducing the current level of discomfort, or achieving the payoff of the most desired outcome, the more someone will benefit from coaching.

How Does The Process Of Leadership Coaching Work?

There are hundreds and hundreds of well-trained and experienced coaches who work with leaders or aspiring leaders, and there is a wide array of approaches they take. On one end of the spectrum, let’s call it the “pure coaching” end, you have coaches who will work with a leader on whatever agenda the client brings to coaching. These coaches may or may not have relevant experience or additional training in any leadership or business competencies. However, if they are well-trained, they can assist the client get clear on an agenda that aligns with what matters to them, identify strengths, pinpoint gaps, evoke growth, set priorities, stay on track and get better results. (I know quite a few very effective and successful coaches who have no background in business or organization life, yet manage to add great value to their clients.)

On the other end of the spectrum, there are many coaches who are not only well-trained in the core coaching skills, but also have dozens of other qualifications and/or relevant personal experience in leadership issues. Let’s call this the “expertise” end of the spectrum. These coaches typically have training in a wide variety of assessments, team intervention protocols, or other specific competencies of common interest to leaders or their organizations. At this end of the spectrum, coaching is often kicked off with some form of assessment, or more elaborate intake process, which sets the learning agenda for the subsequent coaching.