Everyone has their own unique leadership style that can be developed to help teams succeed, but one style, in particular, is on the rise: the coaching leadership style.
But what is the coaching leadership style, how does it work, and what are some of the benefits of using it?
WHAT IS THE COACHING LEADERSHIP STYLE?
Coaching leadership style is defined by the leader’s ability to see the strengths and weaknesses of individual team members so that the leader can help each individual grow and succeed.
Some characteristics of a coaching leadership style include:
Coaching leaders are great at creating mentor-mentee relationships with their team members, giving each individual a unique path to truly thrive.
Coach-style leaders are also great at giving constructive feedback to improve an individual's talents, specifically when it comes to achieving goals and having the confidence to tackle new projects or problems.
In short, a coaching leadership style offers high levels of personalized support balanced by helpful feedback. This style is often cited as being the polar opposite of autocratic leadership, which takes a “command-and-control” approach to leadership.
THE BENEFITS AND CHALLENGES OF COACHING LEADERSHIP
Like all leadership styles, coaching leadership has both benefits and challenges. It’s also important to remember that every leadership style can be adapted, tweaked, and blended with other styles to really make them shine.
BENEFITS OF COACHING LEADERSHIP
With a focus on individuals and strong mentor-mentee relationships, coaching leadership fosters tight-knit teams that work closely together to meet their goals.
Coaching leaders are one of the best types of leaders to make team members confident that they can take on the task in front of them and successfully achieve goals that may seem out of reach.
SUPPORT AND FEEDBACK
Constructive feedback is necessary for growth, but only when it’s balanced with support and praise. Coaching leaders are great at creating a balanced combination of both, which benefits their teams.
Providing opportunities for team members to take on challenges and work together to find solutions is important for coaching-style leaders. Their goal is to create a team that works extremely well together and leans on each other's strengths to overcome obstacles.
CHALLENGES OF COACHING LEADERSHIP
With such a strong focus on interpersonal relationships, coaching leaders may struggle with time management, making it difficult to give each team member the support they need.
WORKPLACE CULTURE CLASHES
Though reports indicate that personal leadership styles like coaching leadership and servant leadership are on the rise, some organizations still operate heavily under top-down structures. This can potentially make coaching leadership difficult to implement.
Coaching every person on a team means that coaching leaders need to adapt to the needs of the individual. Not only can this be time-consuming, but it can be very challenging to lay out unique plans and goals for every single team member.
COACHING LEADERSHIP STYLE: KEY TAKEAWAYS
The coaching leadership style aims to build strong relationships and address the unique needs of each individual team member. Coaching leaders typically take a mentor-mentee approach to leadership, focusing on a balance of praise, support, and constructive feedback.
The things that make coaching leadership a successful style are also the things that can make it challenging, especially for younger leaders who may lead teams of more tenured members or are trying to implement the style in organizations that take a more autocratic approach.
The time commitment involved with coaching leadership must also be considered since the one-on-one nature of the style is what really makes it shine. If a leader cannot commit the time to address each team member, the style may falter.
Despite that, the coaching leadership style is on the rise as more leaders understand the power of connection and positivity over “traditional” leadership structures that take a top-down approach.
Want to learn more? Read our leadership style guide to gain more insights into the coaching leadership style and many others.