In my last blog, I summarized the old story about the Chinese farmer and highlighted how agility, flexibility, and maintaining perspective are essential leadership skills in 2021 and beyond. This is a theme we see often in our coaching sessions with Core Leaders across a wide range of organizations, industries, and geographies.
In a recent conversation I had with one of our Coaches, we talked about some of the ways we help leaders successfully surf the chaos of constant change. In addition to building the knowledge and skills to lead change and effectively communicate change, he emphasized the importance of managing our mindset and how we think about change. We sometimes carry an unconscious expectation that things will return to a state of stasis before the next change comes along. In reality, this is unlikely. We often have multiple waves coming at us at any given time, so when we shift our mindset and expect the waves to continue, we can ride with the waves instead of spending our energy pushing against them.
In addition to agility, I wanted to share some of the other coaching themes that are emerging through the work we’re doing with organizations to build the critical skills for leading now and into the future:
- Preventing and Addressing Burnout
Many employees today have been stretched beyond capacity, especially over the last year of working through the challenges presented by COVID. Helping employees address burnout at the individual level is no longer enough. To enable sustained high performance, organizations must address preventing burnout at the organizational level. Coaching is helping senior leaders to identify and negate cultural behaviors that increase the risk of burnout, encourage and model “recharge behaviors,” and establish shared strategies for preventing burnout across their teams.
- Building a Culture of Coaching
When managers understand what motivates their employees and invest in their career development, we see a significant impact on employee engagement. While many organizations want their managers to have meaningful career conversations with their employees, many managers don’t know where to begin or how to lead the dialogue. Similar to learning a new sport or building muscle strength at the gym, developing coaching skills takes practice, courage, and support. Working with a personal trainer or athletic coach helps us build strength and skill, and working with an experienced leadership coach is helping managers have high impact, courageous conversations with their employees.
- Leading High Performing Teams
Innovative and high performing organizations understand that leveraging a collaborative team often leads to greater results than groups of individuals working in silos. To build these teams, leaders often need to expand their capabilities. Coaching is helping leaders learn to facilitate and improve team communication, build trust, encourage healthy debate, work thought conflict, and enable team members to hold each other accountable for results.
- Creating an inclusive environment
“DE&I (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion)” has become a major focus over the past year. While many organizations want more diversity in their workforce, there is much work to be done to increase diverse representation and leadership, encourage diversity of thought, cut through unconscious bias, and create an inclusive culture. Coaching is helping leaders to focus on specific actions they can take to increase diversity and inclusion across the teams they lead.
In giving Core Leaders the space to be coached on these topics, practice self- reflection, develop new skills, and gain real time feedback, organizations are reporting an increase in the skills needed to lead now and in the coming months.