Flywheel: Transformational Leadership Coaching that Plays a Bigger Game

| March 30, 2012 | 0 Comments

Photo Taken by Elle using her IPhone.

By Elle Allison, PhD. (C) All RIghts Reserved

Leadership Coaching is a fabulous strategy for sustaining leadership and leaders. When leaders have leadership coaches, they have thought partners who are committed to doing their “coaching thing” during coaching conversations, while they reflect on their work and take action to move initiatives forward.

What if Your Coaching Initiative Played a Bigger Game?

Some leadership coaches support leaders in dealing with the daily challenges of leadership. This approach focuses coaching conversations on reaching solutions to the issue of the day. Often, these coaches provide a lot of guidance about what the leader should be doing. They may give advice, provide answers, and share stories about how they handled similar challenges.

There are times when this brand of “just in time” leadership coaching is just the ticket. But when you want your leadership coaching strategy to catalyze long term, sustainable changes and create a culture of leadership, then you might want to ask your leadership coaching approach to play a bigger game. Transformational leadership coaching is just such an approach.

Transformational Leadership Coaching

Transformational leadership coaching asks leaders and coaches to play a bigger game. It seeks to create long term, systemic and sustainable change–the kind of change that develops leaders, teams and cultures. This may sound like a tall order, but why squander resources and energy on leadership coaching that lacks a long term and systemic impact?

Here are some of issues to consider when creating a leadership coaching approach that has the potential for transformation:

1. Develop a cadre of coaches either internal or external to the organization, who understand the context of the leader’s work. These coaches are more likely to provide the job embedded coaching needed for leaders focusing on meaningful, long term initiatives.

2. The leaders focus on real and nitty gritty work of the organization; projects that implement the initiatives and goals of the organization.

3. The leader Identifies one to three leadership practices or standards to develop against the backdrop of the project. These leadership practices are discussed in each coaching conversation and growth in the identified areas are simultaneous outcomes of the coaching.

4. The leader and coach address ways to develop social capital, those relationships (personal, cultural and political) that create support and movement around meaningful work. This engenders long term buy in and draws resources, energy and opportunities for leadership, to the organization.

5. Leaders create opportunities for developing the leadership of others through the work they do with their coach.

6. The leader feels a sense of passion and purpose within the work. They seek to serve a greater good that takes the needs of all stakeholders into consideration but particularly seeks to secure opportunities for the most vulnerable.

7. Coaches believe in the wisdom of the leaders they coach and therefore, resist giving answers and advice. Instead, these coaches focus on asking powerful questions that promote critical thinking, learning and true commitment to action.

8. Both coach and leader think systemically and connect related ideas in order to leverage energy.

7. The process promotes collaboration and learning communities where experimentation, revision and resilience are cultural habits.

8. Coach and leader use data to prompt reflection and optimistic action.

9. The process promotes eagerness to learn not just “what works,” but how to create and sustain cultures that support processes that work.

10. The coaching conversation is not just about leadership in theory; it always end in action to move the real work of the organization forward. This closes the proverbial “knowing doing gap” that Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton famously write about.

Where are the opportunities in your coaching strategy to assure that it has a long term impact in your organization, helping to bring your best initiatives to deep implementation where they can make a real difference?

Click here to learn more about our professional development program for transformational leadership coaching

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Category: Transformational Leadership Coaching, Wisdom in Leadership, Wisdom in Organizations

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