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The Key to Becoming a GREAT Leader


coaching is the key to great leadershipProgressing to a management position in your career can be an exciting and daunting time.

As you imagine yourself in a leadership position you think back to all the leaders and managers you’ve worked with over your career. You hope to emulate their best qualities and dilute the poor qualities. You plan to lead with compassion and a directness that will inspire success.

The six styles of leadership

The real key to becoming a memorable leader is to think of what the people you work with need from you. Daniel Goleman uncovered six key styles of leadership and the effect they have on the workplace and the people they work with.

Each of the six styles has its own stand out strength that sets it apart from the other five;

Create emotional bonds and harmony. Works best to heal rifts in teams or motivate people in stressful times.

Build consensus through participation. Works best to create consensus or get input.

Demand immediate compliance. Works best in crisis or with problematic people.

Expect excellence and self-direction. Works best to get quick results from a highly competent team.

Mobilize people toward a vision. Works best when a clear direction or change is needed.

Develop people for the future. Works best when helping people and building long-term strength.

These have been largely accepted as the pillars of leadership styles and each of them is very recognisable within the workplace. In his article Leadership that gets results, Daniel Goleman acknowledges that flexibility and swapping between each of the styles when it’s most appropriate is the sign of a great leader. However, there is one style that could be more influential than the rest.

While all styles have their place in the work environment there is one major unexplored style that we want to focus on because it has the biggest potential to change the way people view you as a leader

Coaching is key

One of the most underused styles is the coaching style. Often, people in leadership positions claim they don’t have the time to invest in coaching and mentoring their colleagues.
Michael Bungay Stanier delves into the hidden magic that can come from taking the time to coach the people you work with. Through his company Box of Crayons, Bungay Stanier works with organizations to help them build strong coaching foundations.

Bungay Stanier has developed seven key questions that will help you become more of a coach leader. They seem almost embarassingly simple but in reality, they can be hugely educational to implement.

The Coaching Habit: Say less, ask more & change the way you lead forever provides a great insight into these seven questions.

1. The Kickstart Questions: What’s on your mind?

Starting with this question allows you to gain a holistic view of what your colleagues are dealing with. It gives them the opportunity to share personal opinions instead of dealing with everything from a project-based point of view.

When you gain some personal insight it can help you coach this person in a more successful way that provides true professional progress.

2. The AWE Question: And what else?

This may seem like a question that fills in the silence but it is a really powerful question.

It prevents you as a leader from launching directly into giving advice and gives the other person a chance to expand on what they’ve said. Perhaps there is an underpinning issue that needs more context- now they have a chance to really inspect their problems.

3. The Focus Question: What’s the real challenge here for you?

Help them interrogate their challenges. What is the key issue that is causing trouble for them? Often it is not the person or problem that we think it is. Can you help them figure out where the root of their core challenge lies?

4. The Foundation Question: What do you want?

What is the outcome this person is looking for? Are they sure they know what they really want out of this situation? What does perfect look like in their eyes?

5. The Lazy Question: How can I help?

The beauty of this question is that it encourages the person to ask for a specific action on your part. Instead of playing the part of general advice giver you now have a direct way you can provide value to them.

6. The Strategic Question: If you’re saying to this, what are you saying no to?

Coach them so they see time as a resource- are they aware of what projects will take up more time than others. Are they aware of how to prioritize this?

7. The Learning Question: What was most useful to you?

Using this as a finishing questions helps cast the session in a positive light. By asking them what they found useful it helps them focus on the positive outcomes of your meetings and the parts they found useful.

It’s the perfect opportunity to elicit feedback on your new-found coaching leadership style.

We absolutely recommend that you read or listen to this book but if you are very stuck for time this video gives an excellent insight into the questions this book


 If you’re interested in exploring your leadership capabilities check out our free guide to career development


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