When was the last time you thought about helping someone reach for a higher goal? As leaders, one way we motivate others to achieve and grow is by taking the time to discuss strengths, passions and dreams. Not all leaders have the confidence or desire to meet with their team members to develop them. Those that do make the effort, are on the road to cultivating future leaders and thinkers. How can leaders empower themselves to coach and mentor others? What are some strategies and techniques to successful coaching? What does a culture of empowerment look like for everyone?
When I work with managers, who want to become influential leaders, the characteristic that seems most essential is empathy. The ability to identify and understand another person’s feelings and challenges is the first step to empowering us to coach. We need to honestly look into our coachee’s world and help them see the reality of today and the belief of tomorrow. We can begin to coach by asking some key questions:
- What parts of your job do you truly enjoy?
- What do you perceive are obstacles for performing at your highest level?
- If you were to create a perfect job description for yourself, what would it include?
- What is your number one favorite thing to do? What brings a smile to your face and excitement to your day?
- Where do you hope your yellow brick road will lead you?
The second step in mentoring is asking how we can best support our coachee’s choices and challenges. What are their expectations from us and how can we empower them to make better decisions? In our leadership role, we must be clear in asking what our coachee’s need from us to accomplish their goals. Setting specific conditions and behaviors that we can offer someone we are coaching, can increase the attainment of their objectives. For instance, if our coachee needs certain reports or guidance from us, those stipulations should be discussed openly. Additionally we must always build in adequate feedback time to evaluate whether milestones are being reached.
The third step in coaching others is remaining open-minded and non-judgmental- probably the most difficult of all. Empowering others to reach for their highest star, doesn’t mean that they need to choose the same star as we might choose. Through profound listening and not reacting, we can gain great insights into the path our coachee’s strive to follow. Leadership is about helping others reach their potential, not about reproducing copies of ourselves. Think about following these actions:
- Clear away any preconceived stereotypes of the way things should be.
- Guide the coachee in the direction they are marching.
- Avoid using judgmental words or attacking body language.
- Be authentic and supportive in the way feedback is offered.
- Consider the coachee’s style and how they approach experiences.
- Do provide counsel that can enhance the success of the coachee’s goals, while validating their point of view.
Leadership is essentially about cultivating the dreams of those around us. It is about helping individuals create a path perfect for them and then providing the guidance and knowledge to set them free. Are you a leader ready to empower others? I bet you are eager to embark on this challenge. Please share any strategies or techniques that have worked for you. We can all learn from each other.