There’s an great lead article in this week’s Coaching & Mediation Weekly. It points out that many more leaders and managers today face a difficult and growing challenge: they need to give leadership to those who know far more about a particular business process or specialism than they do.

This necessitates a change in leadership style – managers don’t have the specific answers, so they no longer need to waste time pretending that they do. Instead, they should move to a position of enabling learning and creating knowledge within their teams. Everyone needs to be learning constantly, including managers, and increasingly their purpose is to create the conditions that make it as easy as possible for others to do the same.

To develop a coaching culture requires an understanding of this learning mentality – and its individuality, because everyone has their own learning style. As the business coaching pioneer Sir John Whitmore once noted:  “No two human minds or bodies are the same. How can I tell you how to use yours? Only you can discover how, with awareness.”

Coaching is there to fill that gap and unlock the potential in each individual, yet 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. Yet executive coaching can be 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