As a company grows, the personality and idiosyncrasies of its leader sets the tone for the entire workplace culture. Very few leaders come to the table with the full set of skills they need to build their companies – and the way they think and act can affect everyone around them.
Those who understand the challenges associated with building and scaling a successful company can attest to the benefits of executive coaching. By encouraging leaders with whom we work to get into the habit of being coached, we set in place the start of a learning culture for all.
For many, this requires a change in leadership style, as the leader moves from a position of dominance to one of enabling learning and creating knowledge within their teams. And leaders needs to be learning constantly themselves – just like anyone else – and that makes it as easy as possible for others to do the same.
To develop a coaching culture requires an understanding that everyone has their own learning style. A skilled executive coach knows that no two people think the same. So a prescriptive approach can never work – only the learner can discover how, via their own growing self-awareness, they can move forward.
Coaching is therefore there to fill the gap and unlock the potential in each individual. At present, however, only around one-third of organisations make use of it in developing people for executive roles.
Most continue instead to rely upon customised training and developmental job assignments as the foundation of their leadership development approach. This is a shame, as executive coaching is inevitably a far more effective as part of an overall learning strategy, rather than a standalone.
Caroline Sheridan, Chair, Workplace and Employment CMC group and Founder of Sheridan Resolutions