Objective studies have been conducted by the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD), the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and researchers at numerous universities. As far back as 2004, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recognized the importance of effective executive coaching. NASA also initiated an agency-wide executive coaching program.
Coaching effectiveness studies have been quite diverse:
The return on investment (ROI) of leadership and executive coaching has been identified as among the highest of any type of corporate investment, usually over 500% or more than a $5 return for every $1 spent, plus sustainability of behavior change and learning as high as 88%.
Significant improvements that have been identified include:
Successful Women Leaders
Coach Their Employees
Flaws of The Management Approach to Leadership
Leadership is very different than managing employees. In the Management Approach to Leadership, a manager or boss tells workers what to do, when, where, how and supervises employee efforts. This leadership style is sometimes called the Task Management Approach to Leadership.” Occasionally, a manager will explain why tasks should be done a certain way (e.g., for safety or speed), but the majority of work conversations focus on directions like, “Complete this task by doing ______ by 5:00 pm today.” Managers will tell you their role is essential to the success of the organization, “Without my foresight and guidance, work will not be done well.” Depending on the organization, this is sometimes true, but this style of management often creates significant problems.
Employees who work for managers who make most of the important decisions about the worker’s goals and activities are usually disengaged. Most of these employees work because they receive a paycheck or because they like the hours they work, not because they’re passionate about the company’s mission, products or services.
When employees are not encouraged to think for themselves and make important decisions, they seldom gain the momentum required to achieve above average quality. Organizations that use the Management Approach to Leadership cheat themselves out of higher levels of productivity, employee enthusiasm, brainpower and innovation.
Why The Coach Approach to Leadership Produces Greater Success
True leadership (vs. management) is “Why” focused. Leaders are keenly aware that, once teams agree on a compelling purpose for their work, collaboration creates the “How to,” step-by-step. Leaders are mindful that they are not only replaceable, they will never succeed without a capable, enthusiastic, supportive team. Exemplary leaders recognize that their job includes gaining essential resources for their team and inspiring and empowering team members to do their best work.
These leaders also know employees don’t listen as attentively or follow-through as effectively when the person in charge sets goals without at least conferring with team members to gain their input and the leader respectfully considering all points of view. They know a directive, hierarchical or authoritarian approach can disempower employees by overlooking their potential contributions.
Leaders who employ the Coach Approach to Leadership attract the kind of people we want in our companies, adults who expect the freedom to innovate and don’t need to be micro-managed. These essential employees will not accept an authoritarian person dictating what they do, how and when.
How Successful Women Leaders Use Employee Coaching
Successful leaders don’t pretend to have all the answers. They are visionaries with flexible agendas that evolve as the leaders co-develop processes and procedures with their teams. You can see why the Coach Approach to Leadership is superior to the Task Management Approach. This is especially true when employees are smart and talented, including Millennials who generally avoid organizations that have traditional hierarchies.
Most Millennials distrust positional influence (power granted by a title or position). Generation Y prefers personal influence, which is granted because of what a leader does well, including inspiring and empowering employees while gaining trust in their leadership. It’s clear why the coaching leadership approach works best with this generation.
As viewed in this video, the Coach Approach to Leadership feels more natural to the majority of women than it does to most men. Most women are both socially conditioned and hardwired to collaborate instead of function in an authoritarian or hierarchical organization. Women leaders tend to understand the value of relationships and focus on The Greater Good.
Smart, successful women leaders use coaching to help both individual team members and their entire team reach peak performance. They use powerful coaching questions to:
- Help employees and teams develop vision and mission statements
- Set individual and team performance goals
- Establish evaluation criteria
- Motivate individual employees as well as teams
- Attract new talent
- Enhance productivity
- Plan and implement new product launches and marketing plans
- Enhance skill development
- Accept and adapt to change
- Provide performance feedback
- Correct performance deficiencies
- Retain top performers
- Mentor employees
Why Do Powerful Coaching Questions Work?
The key to positive employee change in any organization is not being told what to do and supervised to follow that plan, it’s being internally motivated to change. Team members are inherently motivated to carry out their own ideas and solutions, especially when they feel supported by leadership. Good coaching creates enthusiastic buy-in when the employee thinks, “I’m making this change because I want to and it’s my idea”. Research indicates that even a less-than-ideal solution that an employee or team develops will create better results than implementing a strategy the leader thinks will be better.
Asking employees for their ideas and opinions and listening with full attention and respect conveys the greatest level of respect. Studies indicate this coaching process also elevates employee creativity and confidence to follow-through. When employees have a leader who seriously listens and considers their input, they feel their ideas are honored and the leader believes in their abilities. This builds trust and transparency, both of which are essential for leadership success. Those are only a few of the reasons coaching is such an empowering tool for leaders at all levels.
Asking team members powerful questions about what they think should be done and how to proceed also empowers employees to develop their own leadership skills instead of waiting for a positional leader to prescribe a solution. This is particularly important because Millennials will soon hold the majority of leadership positions. The next article in this series describes the most effective questions women leaders can ask employees and illustrates proven employee coaching strategies.
The next article in this series describes the most effective questions women leaders can ask employees and illustrates proven employee coaching strategies.
Women’s Leadership Coaching
Leadership Coaching is a proven way to help you create the peaceful, collaborative internal environment that is essential to your success. The leadership rewards of self-awareness are so endless that the vast majority of successful woman leaders advise other female leaders and emerging leaders to “hire a coach.”
The average ROI (return on investment) of leadership coaching is over 500%. Click here to complete a short application so I can contact you for a complimentary 20-minute consultation. If we decide we’re a good fit as client and coach, we’ll discuss a coaching agreement. I’m looking forward to getting to know you and being of assistance.
© 2019 Doris Helge, Ph.D. as interviewed on “The Today Show,” CNN and NPR. Certified Master Leadership and Executive Coach Doris Helge is author of bestselling books, including “Joy on the Job,” Doris has helped hundreds of leaders like you meet every challenge you’re facing. Click here to view examples of solutions to women’s leadership dilemmas and sign up for your complimentary Leadership Coaching Consultation.