Compassionate Coaching

I recently came across some research that shows that developing people is a skill that many leaders lack. Lominger a Leadership Think Tank has identified 67 competencies that make for effective leaders. Both managers, and their direct reports, rank the leaders skill at developing people as the least developed skill.

Did I read that right? Leaders, (who are most effective when they can deploy talented, motivated individuals), do not have the skills to develop that talent that they need for success? If leaders don’t develop the talented workforce, where will they get it; from our schools? Have you heard their complaints about the remedial training required for even college graduates?  (I’ll come back to this another time.)

I am also taking a MOOC a (Massive Online Open Course) through Coursera on Inspiring Leadership. It is taught by Richard Boyatzis and in the second lecture he discusses how leaders are either resonant or dissonant. In other words, how leaders can inspire and get their teams to go above and beyond (resonant) or how they can squash creativity, productivity and innovation (dissonant).

One of the characteristics that separate resonant from dissonant leaders is their ability to renew themselves. Chronic stress releases a variety of chemicals and hormones that, while they were good for fighting or running, they aren’t very good for managing, leading, or creating. (Chances are very slim that we are going to face the Tiger and or have to physically fight our way out of the room in corporate America.)  As a result, the leaders and teams that are under chronic stress are less effective. To alleviate that stress or to counterbalance the stress that we all face, we can engage in activities that renew us.

For some these activities can be hobbies, for others they are yoga, martial arts or meditation, for others it’s dancing, listening to music, etc. These activities release a whole different set of chemicals and hormones that are conducive to creativity, social interaction, and innovation.

What was interesting given the research from Lominger is that, according to Boyatzis, Compassionate Coaching is one way that leaders can renew themselves. In other words, by developing their people through compassionate coaching, leaders can renew themselves and become more resonant AND develop the talent that they are looking for. Talk about a triple win.

One of the key elements to this is a genuine desire to help the individual we are coaching (not only for our goals but also for their goals). In other words, we are coming to the coaching session with empathy as well as performance on our minds.

Now some managers I have known who if they are reading this are saying, “BS” (As my friend David B says, Belief System). But think about it. What if you could become more effective at:

  • Talent Development
  • Leading with results
  • Being more fulfilled in your role

How cool would that be?

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