Dan Beverly

The biggest challenge for leaders who want to adopt more of a coaching mentality: turning-off the burning need to add value. Learn to do that and watch the performance of your team soar.

The Leader as Coach

Most of the leaders and managers I work with include somewhere in their goals the addition of coaching skills to their leadership toolkit. And I am most happy to oblige: why wouldn’t we want to send more champions of self-belief, thinking, learning, awareness and personal responsibility out into the world of work?

Being a coach is a mentality; a whole attitude adjustment; a recalibration of principles and practices. Changes we’re all capable of making – and that bring hugely powerful results.

So in the pursuit of becoming a coaching leader, where should you start? I’m going to suggest we start by addressing the challenge I see recurring most often in otherwise competent and successful leaders: the burning need to add value.

The Value (Over-)Add

Picture the scene. A member of staff has an inspired idea and he takes it to the boss. He articulates his vision with precision and passion. He enthuses over even the smallest detail; and has answers for even the biggest objections.

The boss likes it. And then she says: “Great idea. But what would be even better is if we did it this way.”

This might read like a contrived example. But stop and reflect for a moment; and I would think you can recall any number of instances throughout your workday of the constant tacking-on of just-a-little-extra value by (otherwise) successful, competent, caring leaders and managers.

(I know I can – I was one of those unable to stop adding “value”!)

The Intrinsic De-motivator: Lack of Ownership

The issue of value add is ownership. Your idea has just become my idea. And whilst my added value has perhaps improved the idea, it’s come at the cost of a significant reduction in your commitment, enthusiasm and conviction in its execution.

And what would I rather have: the great idea driven home with expert execution by a fully committed and motivated staff. Or the “great idea +”, merely actioned by impoverished staff?

The True Value Add: Drawing-out What’s Already There

So what does the coaching leader do? In short: they let go.

Of course, there’ll be times when intervention and instruction are necessary. (Although far less than many of us might, at first, think.)

But otherwise, I would really encourage us all to challenge our own value adds. Why am I really adding to this? For what benefit? For whose benefit? And at what cost?

By all means, work the proposed idea. Offer challenge and stretch: the brain loves that.

But let your staff find that extra value. Let them own their idea in its entirety. Let them nurture it. Draw-out what’s already there. And be the coaching leader your staff will thank you for being.

What are your key challenges in developing more of a coaching mentality to your leadership toolkit? I’d love to hear from you at dan@danbeverly.com. Thanks for reading.

Dan Beverly

Dan Beverly is a leadership and performance coach helping high-calibre, high-performing professional women embrace the pivotal career moments.

To work with Dan, go online to book your complimentary “Session Zero” – and start capitalising on your pivotal career moment, today.