Are all leaders coachable?

Presumptions about leaders’ capabilities are made all the time. Often, they are given too much credit for having skills in every imaginable area of their business or the sports team they lead. This is one of the reasons those they lead might become disappointed with the leader. This is also despite the fact we can realistically acknowledge no one person is capable of being fully competent in every area. More importantly, also one of the reasons leaders are supported by others.

We have seen that even with the most ideal support team, this doesn’t guarantee a leader’s success. Although the leadership support team which can include other executives or assistant coaches can provide a structure that will bolster and potentially mask a leader’s deficits, it can also cause unnecessary stress on the team. This will ultimately lead to the members of the team having a lack of trust in their leader’s competency, and eventually burnout for these members. This is a preventable scenario, but one which is also difficult to address with the leader who needs more support. Yet, isn’t receiving it. Perhaps not be willing to either.

Given the scenario above, at some point there will come a time when someone on or associated with the support team will need to have a conversation with the leader or coach. They will need to address the fact that the leader or coach is experiencing challenges in their role by not having some leadership skills they require. Ones that they will need to be successful long term. These skills will be different for each person, but there are some common leadership skills which are foundational ones that need to be mastered.

One of the foundational areas is obvious. Perhaps seemingly easy to master, but it’s not. It’s communication, and like a diamond, there are many facets to this topic. In terms of leadership, a strong leader needs to be able to comfortably convey their vision, strategy and have the capacity to be influential with their communication style. I use the word style, as there are a variety of ways a leader can communicate (e.g., verbally, in writing, demonstratively with body language), and they may be more polished in one or two of these areas. Or not. If they are not strong in the area of communicating, this is often an initial area which is glaringly obvious the leader needs support.

Another area which leaders and coaches commonly have a deficit in is their ability to be influential. If their communication skill is not at the level it should be, this will directly impact their ability to influence others. If they are not able to influence others, this will prevent them from getting everyone on their team onboard. You can fill in the blank in terms of what topics this will have an effect on.

The next area which needs to be looked at is a leader’s ability to collaborate. This will require them to exercise a number of different skills, one of them being able to listen exceptionally well. Having the ability to listen well will provide the leader with information that is being both stated, but more importantly not being said. The ability to listen to what is not being stated is critical in terms of knowing which collaborative approach is going to best suit the scenario for an ideal outcome.

Being humble, and let’s add in vulnerable is another factor which will contribute to whether a leader or sports coach will have success. If they will allow themselves to ultimately be open enough to receive additional support to enhance their leadership capabilities, they will experience far greater and earlier success in their career. Although these factors are ideally addressed early in a leader’s career, more often they are not, and this leads to what I’ll refer to as an ”intervention”. This is less than desirable, but it can make the difference between the leader or sports coach being in their role a year from now. Perhaps next quarter or season.

Experiencing adversity and how you handle it as a leader is going to also impact your “go forward” path. Each adversarial situation will be different. Where you end up on the other side of the equation based on how you handle each scenario is going to be a factor which will contribute to making the difference in terms of the success you and your team will experience. For instance, will you know how to handle every adversarial scenario well? Of course not. However, how well you do handle it, and who you seek support from either conversationally or from an action perspective to best address a negative scenario, will also be a determining factor in the longevity in your role.

If you are wondering if you are coachable as a leader, or if your leader is coachable, below are some suggestions to consider whether you or they are.

  • Are you aware of who you are at a core level, and how you react and interact with your team during adversarial times?
  • Are you willing to admit you don’t have all the answers, and can benefit from seeking support from others with more experience?
  • On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest, how often does your ego get in the way of seeking support from others?
  • Can you easily describe who you are as a person, not as a leader?
  • Can you easily describe your leadership style?
  • What would you say your level is on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the highest in terms of allowing yourself to be open and vulnerable with those you lead?
  • How comfortable are you collaborating with others on a scale of 1-5, 5 being the highest?
  • Do you know what your communication style is?
  • How would you rate your communication style, on a scale of 1-5, 5 being the highest?
  • If someone were to suggest that you need more support as a leader, what reaction would you have to hearing this?
  • How would you rate yourself as being a coachable leader on a scale of 1-5, 5 being the highest?

Being a leader or sports coach is a big responsibility. It is also well understood that many others are counting on you on a variety of different levels for your leadership abilities. Taking the time each year to consider whether you or your leader is ideally positioned to be doing their job extraordinary well, with or without support should be discussed. More importantly, to determine whether you or they are properly set-up to successfully lead others.

TAGS: #Leadership #Business #Motivation #Teams #Sportscoach #Teamdynamics #Communication #Awareness #Leadershipstyle #Vulnerability #Collaboration #Influence

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