Modern leaders may be the boss, but they’re not bossy. They may be in control but they are not trying to control people. In the digital world, leaders need to be coaches.
I’m not referring to a life coach or a sports coach. When I talk about being a coach, I mean that leaders need to ask the right questions and then, importantly, listen to their employees’ responses so that they can help them to uncover their hidden talents – their native genius.
Stop talking, start listening
We all know the leaders who are big talkers. Some say things that are profound and make us think. Others are known for saying the wrong thing and would probably be better off not saying anything at all. Barack Obama is a great example of the former and Donald Trump of the latter.
But good leadership is not only about what you say, it’s also about listening to what others have to say. Strong leaders know how to ask the right questions so that they can get the information they need to motivate their teams, improve their processes and be better at what they do.
Beyond asking questions and listening to responses, leaders must coach by facilitating. This entails taking the information they’ve been given and then translating it into different options. For example, asking the right questions may gain a leader a better understanding of their team’s strengths and weaknesses. With these insights, they can plan and then make strategic changes so that everything can run more efficiently.
Coaching also has a teaching and learning component to it. Equipped with all of these insights, good leaders will create opportunities for staff to learn and grow so that they can fill any gaps that might exist and so that they can ultimately work together better as a team.
Learning from big brands
Think about some of the big brands you know and love. If you look at how those brands have transformed over the years, you’ll notice that their products and services have evolved. Sure, they may be doing the same basics but they will have added and removed features and changed their offerings as they grow and as consumer needs change.
A company that just keeps doing the same thing day in and day out will stagnate and people are the same. Leaders who take the time to coach, facilitate and teach are helping their teams to improve, grow and develop into better team players and more dynamic individuals.
Every month, I write about my leadership learnings on the Nebula blog. You can read all of these pieces, here. Or if you’d like to have these insights sent to you every month, subscribe to our newsletter below.