The Power of Leadership Coaching
At Myndful, our aim is to help leaders become more effective, confident and fulfilled in their roles and successful in meeting their objectives.
Leaders come to coaching for a range of reasons and through different routes. Senior leaders may be facing a particularly challenging period (e.g. make organisational change driven by digital or agile transformations) or strategic organisational task and feel that coaching will help them to perform at their best. Executives at all levels may have undergone a 360-degree feedback process or taken part in a leadership programme and identified areas of their performance that they feel are hindering the delivery of their business goals. Some are keen to use coaching to clarify career goals and accelerate their progress within their organisation. Others struggle with anxiety, overload and stress of various kinds at work and look to coaching to help them to learn to cope more effectively. CEOs and those near the top of the organisation who may have few peers in whom to confide may be seeking an external, confidential ‘thought partner’.
Coaching has seen massive growth of the last number of years. This growth has stemmed largely from an increased appreciation of the difference highly effective leadership makes to organisational performance. Often this is underpinned by a leader’s capacity to understand and manage emotion. When leaders fail to do this well, the impact can be destructive and far reaching for their staff and the organisation as well as for themselves. However, by virtue of their role, leaders experience a set of powerful emotional pressures which can make this particularly difficult. These pressures include:
High stakes and high expectation: Most leaders carry a strong sense of responsibility for their organisation and their people. They are acutely aware of being accountable for important decisions that have far reaching consequences. They often expect a great deal of themselves and suffer guilt and shame when they are unable to deliver to their own high standards.
Never being 'off stage': Leaders inevitably attract a high level of attention and commentary within their own organisations. Their behaviour, mood, body language and statement are scrutinised and speculated on by their staff. Leaders are subject to many perceptions and assumptions, positive and negative, yet must resist being too influenced by them. They must remain professional and in role - all day, every day. For those in the most senior positions, the media ensures that every aspect of their performance is watched and their anxiety is fuelled by the knowledge that any failures or mistakes will rapidly enter the public domain.
Presenting a controlled image: Leaders are expected by themselves and others, to be especially good at dealing with their emotions. Being effective and credible in role seems to mean controlling their feelings and hiding their doubts and vulnerabilities. This is rarely acknowledged, however, in the field of leadership education or within organisations, despite the ubiquity of the term emotional intelligence.
Leading in turbulent times: The unrelenting level of change and uncertainty that has become the norm for all organisations mean that these additional demands on leaders look set to remain in place.