Now more than ever, our leaders need support. Leaders are needing to increasingly show up agile, resilient, aware, innovative, emotionally intelligent, courageous…the list goes on. In a time of so much ambiguity, constant changes, and heightened uncertainty, leaders are expected to bear so much to get themselves, their teams, and the business strategy and goals through challenging times and moving forward.
Particularly with the emerging and newer leaders, many are not yet even confident in their authentic leadership style, much less able to be as agile to navigate the rapidly changing environment and needs of their team.
One of the main challenges that I most often hear, and that many organizations struggle with, related to leadership development, is the time and money investments that are made to send leaders to training, and then not actually seeing sustainable results. How often have you attended training, had a great time, learned some new things, and then went back to your job with your notes from the training getting buried under a pile on your desk?
I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of that (which slightly breaks the hearts of those in the training teams who put so much work into building those). It’s understandable though when the “real work” hits you as soon as you get back to your desk and there’s no clear way on how to integrate what you learned into your work. When organizations are investing this time and money, and in the time of needing really strong, agile, confident leaders, we can’t afford to be sending people to training only to have them forget it right away. Just sending leaders to training is not enough. Coaching is the other part of the puzzle. Coaching was once mostly known for being used for performance issues or needing to coach someone through problems. Coaching now is an investment in the potential of your leaders. Training AND coaching should be used as a holistic approach in developing conscious leaders.
We need conscious leaders. There are a variety of definitions but for the sake of this context I will refer to it as “level of self-awareness”. This is leaders that are aware of how they are showing up in situations, particularly under times of stress. Why this matter is because your thoughts influence your feelings, which influence your actions.
Developing leaders, their thoughts of who they are, how capable they are of navigating change, their belief in their abilities..these are going to greatly impact emotions/feelings around leadership capabilities, which will show up in their actions. If we can create more conscious leaders that have this level of awareness, they are much more likely to be able to notice behaviors, choose if that’s what they want (how effective is it in getting them the results they want), and then make authentic, sustainable action and results.
Training is an amazing tool in the toolbox to provide leaders with the skills, provide opportunities to practice, and help to create awareness. Coaching then allows leaders to discover how to integrate those skills into their authentic leadership, in a sustainable way that actually shifts how they show up as a leader. Coaching holds up a mirror to the leader and how they are showing up and allows them the space to shift it.
I like to compare it to a sponge. Sending leaders to training is necessary to help introduce new skills, fill in gaps, create awareness. Training is the surface level of the sponge of starting to try on new things and create the awareness around themselves, others, and tools to use. Coaching is what helps them soak it all in, personalize it, make it authentic, actually shift how they are showing up not just as a leader, but as a person.
Research shows that conscious leaders:
1) have higher levels of awareness of themselves and others
2) have higher levels of energetic leadership-the ability to shift energy (how you show up)
3) have higher levels of overall success
4) have overall increased satisfaction in their work and life
I challenge you to determine how you can create a holistic approach to leadership development that incorporates training and coaching as part of the strategy. We need strong, conscious leaders, and we can help to shape what this next chapter of leadership looks like.