This week is the final installment of our six part series about leadership styles. We are using the six Leadership Styles as defined by Daniel Goleman in his book Primal Leadership. Each has its pros and cons, each is rarely used alone, and none of them should be used all the time. Different stages of a company’s growth require different styles of leadership. The goal is to develop your ability to use each style so you can apply the right one to each situation. Every other week we will focus on a different style, helping you to understand the style itself and when and where it is needed. We’ve already covered Affiliative, Visionary, Pacesetting, Democratic, and Commanding, this week we’ll focus on the Coaching Style.
Someone who exhibits the Coaching Style of leadership is focused on developing others. They want to help their employees grow to be the best that they can be. They have deep conversation with employees about their long term goals and work to create action plans to help them reach them. They continually connect with employees and discuss their progress. Coaches help their employees understand their strengths and weaknesses and help them improve in the areas that the employee wants to.
Coaching is the leadership style that is effective in the most situations. Because the leader is showing a genuine interest in their employees and getting to know them on a personal level, they are showing that they believe in each employee. This helps engage the employee as well as raise their level of personal accountability. So even though the coach is not specifically focused on hard numbers or deadlines, employees do not want to let their coach down and their performance naturally improves. Leaders who exhibit the coaching style are great at getting the best out of their employees.
There are some situations where Coaching can go awry though. If a leader is too focused on short term targets (as opposed to long term growth and development), employees may feel that they are just being used for the good of the company, and not their own personal growth. Coaching can also turn into micromanaging if the leader is not willing to accept small errors as growth opportunities and instead looks at them as unacceptable. The Coaching Leadership Style is a resonant style, but it is still best used in conjunction with other styles. You can learn about the other five styles in our ongoing series.
If you’re interested in learning what style of leader you are, take our Leadership Styles quiz here.