We've previously posted about different leadership styles when managing teams, completing projects, and reaching goals. However, we thought one of the leadership choices, namely the coaching leadership style was due for some special attention.
This leadership style, known for its positive approach towards teamwork, support, and feedback, aims to improve a team's output.
Let's explore the coaching leadership style in full. Can your team benefit from a leader with the coaching style?
What Is The Coaching Leadership Style?
Coaching leadership is a style in which the leader exhibits a spirit of collaboration, guidance, and effective support. This style ideally helps a team achieve its best results through a wonderful spirit of positive growth and encouragement.
This leadership style helps your team and translates to your company's services. For example, when involved in digital marketing consultations services, clients will notice your company's positive attitude.
A leader exhibiting the coaching style aims to bring out the best qualities in team members to serve the project’s success.
Those leaders who employ the coaching style shun the more authoritarian styles, like autocratic.
According to Mike Esterday of Integrity Solutions, going into a project with a coaching mindset is ideal for success.
"Adopt a mindset of seeing more in your people than they see in themselves. Encourage their commitment by recognizing their strengths and focusing on the rewards they’ll get, not just the obstacles they’ll face along the way. And most of all, do more listening than talking. Most people know deep down what they need to do to achieve their goals. Ask your employees, and then help them hold themselves accountable to that plan."
Coaching Leadership Pros and Cons
The coaching leadership style has some profound, especially at in-house advertising agencies and other entrenched organizations.
But there are also some cons. Sure, this style is perfect for leaders with supportive skills. But it doesn't mean it works for every team or employee.
Let's take a look at the positives and drawbacks.
Coaching Leadership Pros
- Good communication. Perhaps the biggest pro of coaching a team is encouraging communication and collaborative skills between employees. If there's a problem, a leader needs to understand different points of view. More importantly, they can act as an effective mediator to develop stronger bonds in a team. The coaching leadership style encourages two-way communication between employees and leaders, too. This can lead to great things, like excellent custom branding or website building.
- Constructive criticism and feedback. It's easy to criticize and offer no fruitful alternatives. A good leader who employs the coaching style will encourage employees to focus on improvement instead of focusing on shortcomings. This open back and forth between employees and their superiors achieves an ecosystem of support and feedback.
- Employee growth. When coached by a leader, employees have a better opportunity to grow. If employees encounter a manager who emphasizes trust, constructive feedback, and positive performance, they can only grow as individuals. And, more importantly, become a fantastic addition to any team and organization.
Coaching Leadership Cons
While a coaching leader can produce positive results in the hands of an unskilled individual, there can be downsides.
- Doesn't mix well with tight deadlines. Coaching leadership can be a great addition to any organization. However, it depends on the situation and set of goals. Since coaching leadership is about open and flexible feedback and performance, tight deadlines, and business that needs stricter outcomes, coaching may not be ideal. That's where something like autocratic leadership could help more.
- Lots of time and resources. As we stated, coaching leadership is all about open, free, and positive feedback and communication. Understandably, this can sap a lot of resources and time from a team. Coaching leadership takes time to build rapport between team members and help them succeed. Again, if you're looking to nail a work goal in a short period, these skills could be counterintuitive.
Other Leadership Styles
Of course, there are other styles that leaders can employ with their teams. Depending on the leader's approach, nature of the project, and employees, leaders may opt for different types like:
- Firm but fair leadership style. Finding a balance between a strict leader and a coaching leader can be difficult. Firm but fair leadership allows for leadership types like autocratic and democratic. This mixture of leadership styles can serve multiple employees well and help them reach important goals.
- Autocratic leadership style. We briefly mentioned the autocratic leadership style. This style tends to have inflexible schedules, low levels of supportive feedback and is essentially the polar opposite of coaching.
- Laissez-faire leadership style. As the name suggests, Laissez-faire is all about a hands-off approach to leadership. Ideally, Laissez-faire leadership allows employees to work with one another in a free and open environment. However, this sink or swim leadership type sees the most success with highly-skilled and efficient employees.
Final Thoughts on the Coaching Leadership Style
If you're a team leader, do you resonate with the coaching style? Why or why not?
Coaching is a great way to build trust, support, and collaboration. However, as you've seen, it can promote less efficient project outcomes. Since the coaching style is so employee-focused, project objectives may not get the focus they deserve.
However, it works for a lot of managers and businesses. Are you a coach or not?