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How coaching is setting leaders up for success through the bumps of 2021

As we navigate COVID-19, the future success of businesses around the globe is not about technology or innovation, it’s about human capital. Organisations know that the most important asset they can grow and acquire is people. Coaching has long held credibility as a performance enhancer, and these days, CEOs are embracing its power to invest in the growth of their leaders in preparation for the challenges and opportunities that we all know are coming.

Some of the country’s most successful organisations have strong coaching cultures. CEO Tim Ford of Treasury Wine Estates engages his global executive team in a high-impact coaching program that has them robustly exploring leadership style and impact. Co-CEO of Judo Bank, David Hornery, has long been known for his commitment to coaching as a way of accelerating leaders’ growth and shaping healthy workplace culture. CEO Hugh Killen of the Australian Agricultural Company is transparent in his belief that coaching for his leadership team and himself plays a critical role in their results and relationships.

It’s been a polarising and challenging 15 months for leaders. The opportunity to truly show themselves has been significant, as has the responsibility. Leaders have been expected to drive and energise people, culture and results, while many of those around them feel the side effects of all forms of COVID-19 fatigue. Having a highly skilled coach by their side has the potential to make a significant difference to what both personal and organisational success look like in 2022. If you’re on the fence about coaching, here’s what you need to consider:

Manage mind, body and emotion

Leaders are working the longest hours of their career and managing more complexity with both people and strategy than ever before. They are also parents, partners, carers and more. High performance only occurs with deliberate self-management of mind, body and emotions. Coaching creates a totally confidential space where leaders don’t have to know the answers, be right or look good. Coaching is a responsible way to decompress, reflect and plan your success. This is the place where leaders can say things out loud that they wouldn’t say to anyone else. It’s the place where their mindset can be broken down, challenged, nurtured and reset. Coaches look at all aspects of how you are living and working when it comes to wellbeing and personal operating rhythm. You can be sure that the leaders who are performing at the highest level right now aren’t doing it by themselves.

Increase effectiveness and impact

Coaching creates a powerful opportunity to truly explore every aspect of who you are being every single day, and importantly, it creates accountability. An ongoing coaching relationship means you are constantly looking at what’s working and what’s not, in a very robust way. Your growth is accelerated because you are proactively adapting your style. There’s no waiting around for performance appraisals. Coaching has leaders being asked questions that they might not have thought about on their own, thinking hard about how to do better, and reflecting on how to have the impact needed to get the right results. Coaching is hard work. You have this person sitting opposite you challenging why you are behaving the way you are and asking you to commit to what you’re going to do differently.

Do more of what you are good at

Many coaches work on the basis that we should all spend more time developing our greatest strengths. After all, when we focus most on our gaps in performance, we just end up with well-developed weaknesses. A coaching agenda will often have your greatest strengths mapped out and then aligned to opportunities to grow those skills further. It makes sense that we are more in flow and energised when we are doing what works for us. Coaching gives you clarity about where and how you should structure your time so as to add most value and experience the highest form of fulfillment.

Commit to working on you and the results come 

When you have a coach in your corner, you are more focused and more aware of your own potential and impact. A coaching relationship is sacred and it’s often the most unconditional relationship that exists in people’s lives. There is no judgement, just an expectation that you bring all of you to the table. You have to be prepared to have uncomfortable conversations and be committed to doing the work on yourself. It’s no small ask and it’s not for everyone. But we know that it’s leaders who set the tone, pace and culture within their teams – and what is absolutely evident is that those who look hard at themselves are more trusted, respected and emotionally intelligent.

Lisa Stephenson is the founder of The Coach Place Global, and is globally recognised keynote speaker and author. 

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