Every organization’s success starts and ends with its leadership team. That’s where priorities are set, goals are outlined and its entire workplace culture is established. Of course, not all leaders are the same, and many of them recognize that there are plenty of opportunities to enhance their skill sets.

That’s where leadership development coaching comes in. Executive coaches work with leaders to equip them with the tools and techniques they need to improve their shortcomings while better leveraging their strengths to drive more impactful outcomes for their organizations.

For many leaders in today’s constantly changing business world, leadership development coaching is the key to better business results.

The importance of leadership development coaching

Strong leadership is more important than ever. According to a survey from Deloitte, 80% of organizations say leadership is a top priority, but just over half of them said their leaders are actually meeting their expectations.

That’s where leadership development coaching comes in.

Professional leadership coaching is a service provided by trained executive coaches to help individuals transition into new leadership roles, identify areas of improvement and ultimately unlock their potential as leaders. While outcomes of different executive coaching strategies tend to differ based on the coaching firm, developing leaders can typically expect to learn to:

  • Engage with their colleagues in a constructive way.
  • Inspire and motivate organizations at large.
  • Manage their emotions to make better decisions.
  • Communicate goals, objectives and expectations effectively.

Leadership development coaching is important not just because it helps turn leaders into transformative decision makers and visionaries, but also because it gives team leaders further down the hierarchy a higher quality leadership model to emulate.

Junior staff and mid-level leaders have a tendency to model their own leadership styles on those at the top, meaning good leadership styles are typically replicated at all levels of the organization. Of course, that also means lower-level leadership will directly reflect an ineffective executive leadership team, so it’s critical to invest in executive coaching as soon as it’s clear there are leadership deficiencies that need to be addressed.

Coaching helps leaders overcome macro-level challenges

In addition to identifying their own individual opportunities for improvement within their organization, a leadership coach also helps developing leaders face and overcome some of the macro-level challenges facing leaders across the world and across industries.

Four of the biggest leadership challenges include:

  • Creating engaging virtual/hybrid work cultures: Keeping employees engaged and connected is one of the biggest challenges associated with operating virtual and hybrid work environments. Around 36% of executives say the biggest challenge of hybrid work is maintaining a strong workplace culture, according to a survey from PWC. Hybrid employees routinely suffer from loneliness and a disconnect from their colleagues, both of which can cause employee satisfaction to suffer and attrition to increase.
  • Staying abreast of the latest technologies: Technology is advancing at an exponential rate, and it’s difficult for leaders to stay up to date on the latest trends. New solutions and devices are optimizing workflows, hiring and onboarding, and customer management — and executive leaders need to embrace some combination of these solutions to stay ahead of their competitors. The potential returns are significant. High-performing organizations are around 2.5 times more likely to leverage technology to pursue their goals, according to Deloitte.
  • Shifting markets require flexible approaches: Different consumer behaviors, technological developments, and insecure supply chains are all driving rapid, unpredictable change in the modern business environment. Leaders have to see change as an opportunity and dispel the idea that there’s one tried-and-true way of doing things, remaining flexible and adaptable to meet new challenges head on.
  • Balancing past roles with current responsibilities: Employees are more on the move than ever, and individuals transitioning into executive leadership roles often approach their new responsibilities while still holding onto and performing at the level of their former role, especially early on. Not only does this keep them from fulfilling their actual duties as an executive leader, it also can create tension within the rest of the team.

A leadership coach will help leaders develop a strong foundational base so they will have the self-confidence to approach each of the above challenges with calm, resolve, and open mindedness.

Outcomes of great leadership coaching

Effective leadership has a trickle-down effect that benefits the entire organization. Starting at the leadership level, leadership development coaching helps engender a greater sense of self-awareness and empathy. Leaders will have the confidence to make bold, impactful decisions — and stick with them — while also staying humble enough to be open to feedback and input from others.

They will also develop more effective communication styles, displaying a sharper ability to communicate organizational goals and objectives to everyone else clearly, while at the same time setting clear expectations and aligning those expectations with the organization’s wider goals.

All of this makes its way down to the rest of the organization. Proper alignment and clear communication helps create a happier, healthier workplace culture, enabling individuals to thrive in their roles and truly develop professionally. Organizations can expect to see employee engagement rates increase and attrition decrease as employees develop deeper bonds with each other, their leaders, and the company at large.

At the end of the day, each one of these outcomes converges into the one at the center of it all: better business results. Increased employee engagement, more effective decision-making and tighter organizational alignment all help businesses enhance productivity and efficiency, drive better customer relationships, and ultimately grow their bottom lines.

Signs you’re in need of a leadership development coach

There are numerous signs that an organization is in need of a leadership development coach. The most obvious, immediate sign is a string of poor business results. Organizations that consistently miss their quarterly and annual goals, are riddled with unproductiveness and inefficiency, and have a tendency to lose customers are usually the ones most in need of leadership development.

While those business results are typically the first sign of a leadership problem, peeling back the layers reveals a host of other signs of poor leadership at every level of the organization — all of which ultimately stem from the executive leadership team. These include:

  • Poor communication.
  • Confusion about priorities and goals.
  • High attrition rates.
  • Inability to manage change.
  • Widespread complaints about leadership.
  • Bad reviews in exit interviews.
  • Low employee engagement.

Even if there are more immediate reasons for any of the above shortcomings (perhaps online communication has suffered because the appropriate technology hasn’t been leveraged), all roads eventually lead back to the leadership team. Any organizational issues that arise should be identified and addressed head on by its leaders as soon as possible; if they aren’t, you have a leadership problem.

Skills you can improve through leadership development coaching

There are a number of skills that can be enhanced through leadership development coaching. Broadly speaking, these can be divided into two main subcategories, one that focuses on the leaders’ own responsibilities, the other geared more toward the leader’s relationship with the rest of the organization.

Individual skills:

  • Self management: The ability to manage and process one’s emotions is critical to keeping a clear mind and a steady hand, especially during difficult times.
  • Decision making: Not everyone will be happy with a decision. In fact, you’ll rarely get buy-in from everyone. Leaders often need to make hard decisions that many people will be unhappy with.
  • Time management: Some tasks take a long time. Others don’t. Some are top priority. Others aren’t. Great leaders know how to categorize their tasks and devote the appropriate amount of time to each.
  • Strategic thinking: It’s one thing to have a great vision. It’s another entirely to make a plan to get there. Great leaders know how to think strategically, putting the organization in the best position to realize its objectives.

Team-oriented skills:

  • Change management: Change can be daunting for everyone. Effective leaders know how to create smooth transitions for everyone in the event of a restructure, acquisition, or new partnership.
  • Confident humility: It’s a balance, but effective leaders have the confidence to stick to their guns while at the same time displaying the humility to stay open to new ideas and information.
  • Relationship management: Interacting effectively and constructively with peers is critical to building harmonious, respectful workplace cultures.
  • Team building: Every team starts from square zero. Leaders have to be able to hire the right people and put those individuals in the best positions to succeed.
  • Conflict resolution: Conflicts happen, and leaders need to be the ones to quell tension and channel that energy into constructive deliberation and debate — without leaving any hurt feelings behind.
  • Coaching skills: Great leaders don’t just direct from the top. They serve as guides and mentors to everyone else. They know how to motivate those around them to become their best possible selves.

Skills you can’t develop

Most of the hard and soft skills required to be a successful leader can be targeted and developed in almost any individual. Executive coaching won’t get very far, however, if the coachee doesn’t already display some basic skills from the start.

A core sense of curiosity and a willingness to learn are among those basic skills. Leaders have to be willing to engage with and consider new perspectives in order for any leadership development to be successful. They also have to be willing to take constructive criticism and be open minded enough to test new approaches.

Most leaders got to the positions they’re in because they trusted their instincts and made bold decisions (oftentimes cutting through doubters and pushback), and that means they have a heightened sense of trust in themselves and their abilities. That works in many instances, but when it comes to leadership development coaching, it can make leaders rigid, arrogant and unresponsive to efforts at meaningful improvement.

Core components of effective leadership development: Our approach

At The Bailey Group, we don’t have a dogmatic approach that we apply to everyone; instead, we place a huge amount of importance on meeting clients where they are. We take the time to learn about their unique strengths, weaknesses, objectives, and challenges in order to customize their plan and ensure they’re receiving individualized coaching.

We understand that every organization and individual is different, and that different circumstances bring them to pursue leadership development coaching. A generic approach doesn’t work because it doesn’t take those unique differences into consideration.

Our approach includes the following core steps:

  • Initial assessment of leadership strengths, weaknesses and challenges.
  • Goal alignment and setting action plans with the appropriate leaders and managers.
  • One-on-one scheduled coaching sessions to gauge progress and identify issues.
  • Use The Bailey Group’s proprietary impact and satisfaction measurement to track progress.

If possible, we aim to involve multiple individuals close to the coachee (including colleagues and their immediate supervisor) to enhance their development. Receiving input and feedback from others helps us gain a deeper understanding of the organizational culture, as well as learn about the coachee from the perspective of those they interact with on a regular basis.

We’re not just coaches — we’re behavioral psychologists and business leaders

The Bailey Group’s approach is different from every other coaching firm in the market in a few key ways. Our primary differentiator is the holistic approach we take to leadership development coaching. Our coaching bench consists of:

  • Licensed psychologists with deep understanding of human behavior.
  • Experienced business professionals with years of experience at the top of their industries.
  • Trained leadership coaches with extensive experience developing emerging leaders.

The combination of this expertise gives our customers deep insight from across the breadth of leadership coaching, ensuring they’re receiving insights into all areas of their development.

Demonstrating both our commitment to our approach and our confidence in its effectiveness, we apply all the same leadership metrics, principles, and strategies to our own leaders. Not only does this help us ensure we’re achieving our potential as leaders, but also gives us first-hand experience we can use to fine-tune our approach and constantly enhance it for the benefit of our clients.

Ready to work with our team of executive coaches and unlock your leadership potential? Check out our blog for more leadership insights, and reach out to our team to schedule a free consultation.

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