1. Showing Empathy
Someone in a leadership role who does not have the ability to empathize will never be a leader. Empathy is about connecting with others without judgment or personal agenda. By growing this skill, leaders can make difficult or even unpopular decisions that their teams will support because they are trusted for their ability to lead to greater destinations for the common good.
2. Remaining Curious
Remember Curious George? I like to think that curious little monkey is a great leader today. Curiosity is the difference between knowing and discovering. Curiosity keeps judgment at bay and encourages consideration and inclusion. We are born naturally curious and learn to suppress our curiosity in favor of efficiency. Take a lesson from George — let your curiosity run wild!
3. Being Able to Recognize Strengths
A great leader and coach will help their people find their light and brighten it. The conventional way of leading, which tells us we must find and fix our weaknesses, is outdated and disengaging. Today's leaders must embrace and capitalize on the uniqueness and strengths of each of their team members in order to ensure that they not only succeed wildly at work, but also succeed as leaders of their lives.
4. Knowing How to Partner
Like a great coach, a great leader is in the front pulling for their team members' success. Great leaders are not directing but partnering for success. Leading is about creating an environment where individuals get heard, experience is valued and validated, and difficult decisions by the leader are then embraced by the team. They know the leader is their partner in having them win, too.
5. Asking Open-Ended Questions
Too often, leaders approach interactions from a problem-solving mindset. Asking open-ended questions can create openings for new action because they literally take people out of the problem. Try this one on for size: "If there were no constraints and anything was possible, what action would you take now?"
6. Practicing Involved Detachment
Asking for feedback can trigger our inner critic and prompt emotionally charged responses. This can deny us the opportunity to develop as a leader and break the bond of trust between us and our employees. Involved detachment — being fully engaged emotionally while remaining completely non-judgmental and objective — is the most powerful coaching skill any leader can master to counteract this.
7. Crafting Strategic Vision for Transformation
Leading and connecting people requires the ability to create transformational opportunities and guiding people to them. True leaders will create transformation and set visions for others to reach for and achieve greater for themselves, not just an organization. Inspiring and providing transformative steps through their interactions will shepherd people along the change cycle with little turbulence.
8. Knowing How to Develop Your Process
Developing a process for any task or service makes it measurable and replicable. From there, you can refine and polish your methodology to make it more efficient and relevant. After all, what is a franchise at its core but simply a book of proven processes? The right people with the right product and the right process equal a home run in building your business.
9. Taking Ownership of Results
The ability to coach means the ability to know, apply and teach effectively. It also means taking ownership of the results for yourself and others. In other words, if your client does well — celebrate. If your client doesn't do well, other than they simply aren't doing the work, examine what can you do better, more effectively or differently. That way, you are always improving and growing.
10. Being Able to Pick Up On and Give Subtle Communication
Listening is only half of the communication equation. How you listen, what you say, how you say it, and when you say it impacts whether your message hits its target and whether you get the results you seek. Leaders who competently listen for both text and subtext, and who respond with inclusive language, pace and tone will improve performance and increase enjoyment at work.
Other Key Coaching Skills and Attributes
Great coaches tend to have a number of key skills and attributes.
Finally, if you’re ever tempted to put someone down because you think they may be reaching a level of expertise beyond yours, remember the adage that:
You should always be nice to those you meet on the way up, because you may well meet them again when you’re on the way down!