Organizations around the world utilize different leadership styles to run their companies. Some believe in traditional authoritative and autocratic leadership, whereas others opt for affiliate and visionary leadership. Each has its specific characteristics and is suitable for particular outcomes.
One such leadership style is the coaching leadership style. The advantages and disadvantages of coaching leadership style play a major role in deciding if you want to implement this style in your organization. Modern leadership experts suggest using more employee-friendly approaches like visionary and coaching leadership. They create unity within the team and push them to give their input. Yet, these leaders do not leave their team members on their own. They guide and coach them to do better for themselves and the company.
What is a Coaching Leadership Style?
“A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear [and] who have you see what you don’t want to see so you can be who you always knew you could be.” – Tom Landry.
Coaches are essential to any team when they want to do better. They coach their team members to develop their skills and improve over time. They focus on the individual and professional growth of their employees for the long term. Coaching leadership applies to all domains of life, from sports to studies and business. A mentor or coach can fuel your team and mold them into individuals they didn’t know they were. They bring out each team member’s best potential and boost your organization’s growth.
A coaching leadership style can be defined as “Coaching leadership is characterized by support, collaboration, and guidance. They bring out the best in their teams and motivate each other. Coaching leaders promote positive nature and confidence in the work environment.”
Characteristics of a Coaching Leader
Being a player and a coach are very different from each other. You made your way up from being a sales representative for your company. But, your struggle and efforts may not give the same results for another person. A coach needs that mindset to understand that every individual is different. They need to put effort into each person to bring the best out of them. Approaching and guiding them to perform better is time and effort-consuming. A coaching leader must be patient and helpful enough to push every individual till they reach that place.
The coaching leadership style is similar to affiliate leadership in many ways. Though, affiliate leaders do not put effort individually.
A successful coaching leader does not only work on individual grooming but also promotes collaboration. The leader works to create a united environment where the team assists each other to improve their skills. It enables the team to support each other when needed before asking the leader for help.
Employees in an organization must find their leaders trustworthy. Team members always appreciate a manager they can share with and confide in. Being a coaching leader, they expect emotional support from you regarding professional and personal matters. Thus, it is vital for them to feel safe while talking to you.
A good coaching leader is empathetic. They understand their employee’s problems and offer solutions to them. Empathy within the team motivates them to perform their best even if one is not there. The team tries its best to fill for them, so they do not face any consequences. Coaching leadership is all about being empathetic and instilling this attitude within the team wholly.
Scaffolding is used in education as “a variety of instructional techniques used to move students progressively toward stronger understanding and, ultimately, greater independence in the learning process.”
As a coach, you do not want your team members to always depend on you. You must gradually progress the employees, so they need less guidance. It provides a sense of autonomy while building unity among the team members.
Whether you talk about the fastest bowler in the world or the person with the most A*s in A-levels, none of them would have succeeded without proper feedback.
Coaching leaders must not shy away from giving feedback where needed. It allows your team to realize their flaws and work on them. Contrary to coercive styles, this method does not follow one-way feedback. The teammates may also tell you how they are trying and how you could help them.
Besides praise and constructive feedback in team meetings, one-on-one sessions prove to be immensely helpful. Coaching leaders should conduct one-on-one meetings with their team members to communicate better. They might talk about issues that they avoid in front of others.
Advantages of Coaching Leadership Style
People Like Coaching Leaders
Coaches help people do better in their professional and personal life. They bring out hidden skills in people that they did not realize previously. People like working with coaching leaders as they are always there to facilitate. They instill a motivated and collaborative environment within the workplace. People like coaching leaders, and it reduces the employee turnover rate.
A coaching leader does not leave their team member to work independently. They give a proper outline of the expected outcome. The team knows what their leader expects from them. This enables the employees to work together to meet those expectations and achieve their goals.
Authoritative leadership styles do not focus on personal weaknesses and strengths. On the contrary, improving individual strengths is one of the most vital advantages of coaching leadership. Coaching leaders identify the team’s shortcomings on an individual and collective level. They help them come over their weaknesses and transform them into strengths. It requires time and effort. But, coaching leaders are willing to give as much effort as needed.
Positive Workplace Environment
As coaching leaders show their interest in employee growth, they cultivate a positive working environment within the workplace. Such leaders emphasize personal as well as team development for improved performance. The team understands that they must always stand up for each other and assist when needed.
Working Towards the Future
When coaches coach their teammates, they enable them to improve their skills. The team members learn through experience and become self-sufficient. Well-coached employees are capable of coaching other employees later. It is like a mentoring program where one mentor produces more over a period. Employees working under coaching leadership become empathetic managers in the future.
Adapts to Change
Sometimes employees find it difficult to adjust to changes in the company. However, coaching leaders mentor the team to help them adapt to the changing environment. Some people may initially resist the coach’s advice but accept it. The team under a coaching leader trusts their leaders and their decisions.
Short and Effective
Coaching leadership is not adopted as a long-term leadership style.
It helps employees improve their skills over a defined period of around a year. The organization may implement it again a few years down the lane. Yet, it does not last long at once. Usually, short coaching sessions are believed to be more effective.
Disadvantages of Coaching Leadership Style
A coaching leader works on the grass-root level for each employee. The leaders must be suitable for the job as it takes a lot of effort and time to mentor other people. Typically leaders lack this much time and do not prefer the coaching leadership style. Some companies may also not want to spend much time and resources training their employees.
A coaching leadership style cannot follow a one-leader-fits-all approach.
You will need a specific kind of leader depending on the kind of professionals you wish to coach. Every coach might not be well-suited for your organizational setup. The coaching leader and your functional manager must be on the same page, or it can lead to conflicts in the company.
You must be wondering why is it a disadvantage of coaching leadership style?
Often the employees do not favor another leader besides their functional or project management. Thus, they do not give proper feedback to the coach. And without feedback and effort from the team members, the coaching leader cannot help much.
Coaching does not Always Work
You may think the coaching leadership style is the best among all types. It is a helpful leadership method. Yet, it is not required everywhere.
Every organization has its particular work ethics and practices that they have followed for a long time. New employees might take some time and adjust without needing a coach. It is always good to give it time before opting for a coaching leader.
The Bottom Line
The coaching leadership style is immensely helpful in improving the employees’ skills. Coaching leaders identify each employee’s weaknesses and work on personal and professional growth. They are highly specific and give proper attention to every team member. However, this leadership style takes a little bit of time to implement. It is essential to understand if you need a coaching leader in your organization or not. We hope the advantages and disadvantages of the coaching leadership style will help you make a better decision.
Matthew is a Co-Founder at BusinessFinanceArticles.org. Matthew was a floor manager at a local restaurant in Wales. He lost his job after the pandemic and took initiative to make a team and start the project.