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Leaders AND Coaches


There is a lot being written these days about leaders and coaching. As I wrote in my goodreads review of Co-Active Coaching: Changing Business, Transforming Lives, many people suggest all leaders have to be coaches or all leaders can be coaches. I disagree on both fronts.


First, all leaders do not have to be coaches. They are different roles. An organization can have effective leaders complemented by internal and external coaches. This approach lets both the leader and the coach play to their strengths. It is the strongest combination an organization can offer its people. This approach also frees the coaching relationship of organizational reporting relationship complexities. The leader does not have to wrestle with which hat they are wearing. The person being coached does not have to ask themselves whether they are now talking to their boss or to their coach.


Second, all leaders cannot be coaches. Leading and coaching are very different skill sets and different approaches. A leader can use coaching habits and use them effectively to have different conversations with the people they lead. Still using coaching habits is far from a co-active coaching engagement where the coach comes alongside the client and is in service to the client helping them forward action and deepen learning. I have seen two critical gaps with "all leaders can be coaches":


  1. Knowledge -- Most people in leadership positions do not know coaching. How can they provide what they do not know?

  2. Training -- Most people in leadership positions have no training in coaching. How can they provide effective coaching when they have not been equipped?


These gaps are tell-tale signs that your organization does not yet understand the power of coaching. Your organization is missing the impact coaching can have on the people in your organization and on the organization overall. To learn more about coaching and the power of coaching, connect with me.


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