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Success and Leadership

How CEOs Can Be Better Coaches

Empower Energy Solutions

In navigating the ever-shifting terrain of corporate leadership, CEOs are architects of insurmountable influence that extends beyond traditional managerial roles. Their significance lies in shaping not only titles and structures but also organizational culture and triumph.

As leaders of dynamic and thriving workplaces, CEOs must embrace coaching as a multidimensional skill set, with genuine care emerging as the linchpin. CEOs who approach their roles as coaches, rather than simply managers, emphasize the importance of fostering the personal and professional growth of each team member, transcending the confines of conventional leadership.

Core coaching principles

Effective coaching is rooted in leadership principles that transcend titles and positions. Asim Hafeez, Owner and Operator of Empower Energy Solutions, emphasizes the distinction between a manager and a leader, asserting that “a title alone does not make a leader.” Instead, “leadership is about influence, inspiring individuals to achieve their goals.”

As Hafeez explains, genuine care for people is at the heart of effective leadership and coaching. Leaders who authentically care about their employees, both personally and professionally, create a positive work environment.

“Leaders should focus on adding value to employees’ lives outside of work, connecting on a personal level through activities like dream sessions and remembering details like middle names and favorite candies,” Hafeez suggests. Such gestures create a sense of genuine care, fostering a stronger coach-employee relationship.

Moreover, it’s important to recognize that one-size-fits-all does not apply to coaching people. “I have found that the best way to coach my team is to actively ‘get in the trenches’ with them,” says Melanie Powers, president and CEO of Goodberlet Home Services. “I will walk job sites with our teams and am always available to answer questions as needed. They trust my advice because they know I’m not asking them to do something that I wouldn’t do myself.”

Gallup recently released a survey stating that “leaders who are [self-aware] have teams that are 8.9% more profitable.” This tells us that leaders who understand their strengths and weaknesses can coach others and increase overall productivity and profitability.

Dr. Thomas Reed, co-founder of America’s Heroic School, advocates that leaders should “ask insightful questions and promote deep self-reflection as a crucial aspect of effective coaching, aligning with the belief that good coaches guide without prescribing solutions.”

The core principles of effective coaching revolve around creating a supportive, adaptable, and growth-oriented environment. It involves recognizing individuals’ unique qualities, fostering open communication, and cultivating a workplace culture that values continuous improvement. These principles serve as a foundation for leaders seeking to navigate the complexities of coaching in diverse and evolving professional landscapes.

Practical coaching strategies

As leaders strive to guide their teams toward success, mastering coaching strategies becomes paramount. These approaches go beyond theoretical frameworks, offering practical tools to enhance communication, foster growth, and elevate team dynamics.

  • Active listening: Cultivate a deep understanding by listening attentively, fostering trust, and encouraging open communication.
  • Goal setting: Collaboratively establish clear and achievable goals, aligning individual aspirations with organizational objectives.
  • Feedback loop: Establish a continuous feedback mechanism, providing constructive input to nurture growth and improvement.
  • Empowerment: Foster autonomy and initiative, empowering individuals to take ownership of their roles and responsibilities.
  • Skill development plans: Tailor coaching to individual needs with personalized skill development plans that address specific strengths and areas for improvement.
  • Celebrating progress: Acknowledge and celebrate small victories, reinforcing positive behaviors and motivating sustained effort.
  • Adaptability: Remain flexible and responsive to evolving needs, adjusting coaching strategies to suit the dynamic nature of personal and professional growth.

Embracing these coaching strategies cultivates a culture of collaboration, growth, and continuous improvement within teams. By actively implementing these approaches, leaders can create an environment that fosters individual development and collective success.

Holistic coaching approach

A holistic coaching approach encompasses fostering an environment rooted in flexibility, trust, and open communication. Recognizing subtle signs and encouraging team members to speak up when needed form the foundation of a coaching ethos that values the individual beyond their professional contributions.

For example, “Keep an eye out for those subtle signs that someone might need a bit of guidance,” Hafeez says. “It could be feeling stuck, not performing up to expectations, or not sure where they’re headed.”

A key facet of this holistic approach is the avoidance of micromanagement, which allows trust and accountability to flourish within the team. “The key to being a coach is not what you do but what you don’t do,” Dr. Reed points out. “Don’t tell people what to do — help them identify where they want to improve.”

Moreover, a truly holistic coaching approach involves understanding the differences between therapy, coaching, and mentoring. This delineation ensures that coaching sessions remain focused on professional development and skill enhancement rather than delving into therapeutic realms.

“Genuinely inspiring people is what separates a leader and a coach from a manager,” Powers affirms. “Sometimes, it’s inspiration through words, but quite often, it’s even more so inspiration with their own work ethic and attitude.”

Effective coaching demands a genuine investment in the well-being and development of employees, founded on principles of open communication, trust, and adaptability. It requires actively listening, setting achievable goals, providing constructive feedback, and empowering individuals to take ownership of their roles.

Ultimately, the true measure of a successful coach lies not in the accolades or titles, but in the ability to inspire and guide others toward realizing their full potential. By embodying the principles and strategies of holistic coaching, leaders can create a culture of continuous growth, collaboration, and collective success — a legacy that extends far beyond the confines of their professional roles.

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Despina Wilson
I am a senior editor and data journalist at CEOWORLD magazine. My job involves using infographics to report on news topics related to business and policy, with a global perspective. I hold a master's degree in journalism and have worked for newspapers and reporting projects in both the US and the UK, giving me a unique transatlantic perspective. I believe that data can enhance coverage of all news topics. As a contributor, I plan cover a wide range of issues, such as gender equality, climate change, labor, and immigration, using relevant statistics and insightful visualizations.