Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke


The Leadership Coach

Volume: June 2017

Over the years, I have had the pleasure of coaching thousands of professionals. One lesson I have learned is that if someone does not want to grow, I cannot help him or her. This fact is not lost on many of you. When a professional or a team wants to engage and elevate their abilities, however, transformational results occur. Coaching and developing people is one of the most important aspects of leadership. Yet, according to a DDI study, more than 13% of leaders struggle with coaching and developing their people. Whether you are a seasoned leader who is a great developer of talent, or a newer leader who is finding their coaching footing, here are six tips to consider while helping people grow their skills.

  1. Clarity of Desired Results. Creating a clear picture of your desired results is a great starting point for a coaching relationship. While establishing outcomes, the coach-leader should have at least three specific tools, techniques, or areas of improvement on which they desire to transfer knowledge. It is with purpose that I highlight the phrase “transfer knowledge,” for that is the core of successful coaching - and a real bugger to achieve.

  2. Candor Level. Some people respond to coaches who challenge them. Other professionals need lots of nurturing during the learning process. Perhaps your style is somewhere in between. Regardless, determine what coaching style is most appropriate for a given team member. Candidly discussing this with the person being coached, preferably at the beginning, may assist in speeding them along to the ultimate desired results.

  3. Fitness Frequency. Effective coaching is lot like effective fitness. Achievement is greater with a regular schedule. While formal coaching may take place at less frequent intervals, informal coaching can take place every day. Effective leaders seize those moments when they can “catch someone doing something right” during an ordinary leadership walkabout. Tickle your calendar if you have to, but make coaching others a part of your psyche.

  4. Application. Nothing foils good coaching more than subjects who do not put into practice what they have learned. When a technique, tool, or new behavior resonates with a team member, challenge them to master new skills. If you, the leader, are being coached, make certain you diligently practice key elements from what you are learning. The consistent execution of newly learned skills will greatly enhance the ROI experienced from executive coaching.
  1. Reinforcement. When contractors create a physical structure, they build, they test, they add support, and then they build some more. This is a nice rhythm to consider when helping team members to grow and develop. Check in to ensure that they are applying what they have learned. Then, share feedback as appropriate to codify their new skills and behaviors.

  2. Stretch Comfort Zones. Even though I deliver hundreds of programs and keynotes annually, I create one new program and take on one speaking engagement each year that stretches my comfort zone. Effectively executing them challenges my creativity and thinking skills. It is very easy to operate on autopilot and enjoy past successes. This trap leads to stagnation and ultimately lowered professional performance. Stay sharp by challenging yourself and your people to stretch their comfort zones. Reinvent. Are they going to fail? Maybe. But they just might soar. Challenge the status quo. If leaders aren’t stretching themselves annually, I guarantee they are not on the cutting edge of their marketplace. Get out there and get nervous. Live!
Bottom Line: Coaching and developing others is the true gift of leadership and it must be shared. Create and strengthen your leadership legacy by helping someone elevate their abilities skyward. By helping your team members fly, you will be helping your skills to soar in the process.
Until next time, be well.
Doug Van Dyke has coached over 1,000  leaders and managers across the USA and abroad. Results-driven yet fun, he provides experience and a unique perspective to his clients. Contact Doug today about 1:1 Coaching, Tele-Coaching, and Leadership Development at 941-776-1121, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or visit LeadershipSimplified.com. 

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