Understand the key differences between these two concepts and why understanding them can help boost your leadership skills and improve your team's performance.
Leadership coaching and leading with a coaching style are not the same thing. While they both involve coaching, they are fundamentally different. Let’s explore the key differences between these two concepts and why understanding them can help boost your leadership skills and improve your team’s performance.
Leadership coaching involves working with a trained coach to develop leadership skills and capabilities. The coach helps the leader reflect on their strengths and weaknesses and create a development plan to achieve their goals. Leadership coaching can be highly personalised, strategic, and focused on long-term growth and development.
Leadership coaching typically involves a formal arrangement, with a set number of coaching sessions over a specific period. The coach uses various techniques, such as questioning, observation, and feedback, to help the leader to become more self-aware, explore options, and work towards their goals. The coach may challenge the leader’s assumptions, beliefs, and values, and help them to gain new perspectives and insights.
Leading with a coaching style is a leadership approach that involves using a coaching mindset and techniques to lead and manage. This approach recognises that every employee has unique strengths and weaknesses and can benefit from coaching to improve their performance. Leaders who use this style aim to inspire, motivate, and empower their team by using coaching techniques such as active listening, questioning, and feedback.
Leading with a coaching style is not a one-off coaching event, but more about developing a coaching culture in the organisation. It is about creating an environment where employees feel safe to share their ideas, concerns, and feedback and where leaders encourage their team to achieve their full potential.
Personalised vs organisational focus
Leadership coaching is more personalised and focused on the leader’s individual development needs. It involves a one-to-one relationship between the coach and leader. In contrast, leading with a coaching style is focused on creating a coaching culture within the organisation. It involves training and developing all leaders in the organisation to use coaching techniques to improve the performance of their teams.
Coaching frequency and duration
Leadership coaching involves a formal arrangement where the coach and leader agree on the coaching frequency and duration. The coach may work with the leader for several months to achieve their goals. In contrast, leading with a coaching style is more informal and integrated into the day-to-day work of the leader. Leaders who use this style use coaching techniques regularly to help their team members improve their performance.
Goal-oriented vs mindset-oriented
Leadership coaching is more goal-oriented and focuses on helping the leader achieve their specific goals. The coach and leader may set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based) goals at the beginning of the coaching relationship. In contrast, leading with a coaching style is more mindset-oriented. It focuses on creating a coaching culture that encourages employees to take ownership of their development and use coaching techniques to achieve their potential.
Formal vs informal coaching
Leadership coaching is a formal coaching arrangement. The coach and leader may have set times and places to meet and may use formal coaching techniques. In contrast, leading with a coaching style is more informal. Leaders who use this style coach their team members continually, through on-the-job conversations, feedback sessions, and performance discussions.
Leadership coaching and leading with a coaching style are two distinct concepts and understanding the key differences between these two concepts, business leaders can become more effective in developing their teams and improving their performance.