Developing a Leader Coach Mindset

Today even more so than usual leaders need to be able to cope with uncertainty and change. No longer is the command and control approach going to work, particularly when employees may be located virtually. This is where the coaching style of leadership becomes more important, sometimes termed ‘leader coach’ and is characterised by partnership and collaboration.

A leader coach operates with a coaching mindset by asking questions instead of giving answers, supporting employees instead of judging them, and offering feedback rather than attributing blame. By becoming more human, and showing their vulnerability, courage and empathy, they can motivate others through their emotional appeal and build stronger connections with employees.

We have seen this most recently when leaders are having to operate at arm’s length due to social distancing and self-isolation requirements. One example is when participating in virtual conference calls, or presentations - leaders have become more human, especially when their employees get a glimpse into their home, maybe they are seen in more casual clothes, or their children or pets cause a unplanned distraction on a call

When a leaders’ team is operating from home, a greater level of trust has to be shown, clear direction and purpose needs to be communicated, and everyone has to adapt.

I recently interviewed sixteen global thought leaders for the Enabling Leadership special report, and three key points they made were:

· The importance of...... sharing ones’ personal story – Margarita Mayo

Authentic leaders use their own life story to teach their value and philosophy of management to others.

· The importance of.... listening to connect – Judith E Glaser

It takes 0.07 seconds for our brain to work out if another person is listening to connect, or to judge, and that’s before they have spoken. A leader coach needs to build connections and strong relationships to get the best from their people.

· The importance of.....role modelling leadership – Julie Paterson

You have to see it to be it and so leaders must walk their talk and demonstrate the behaviour they want to see in others.


Article written by The Leadership Coach Sue Stockdale.

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