Leadership styles can vary from person to person, but ultimately there are two types – top down and bottom up. Which one is best for you depends on YOU. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to leadership. But coaching as a form of leadership, a bottom up type, can be effective for most.
In this episode of the White Collar Therapy Show, Robb and I talk about coaching style leadership in the workplace. Individual workers respond to various leadership styles differently. Finding a natural balance among individuals and leadership styles is key to organizational performance and effectiveness. The video below is a recap and preview of the conversation.
Coaching as a Form of Leadership
To help illustrate the points in the conversation, I share a story about two people who work together not only professionally, but also romantically, and who experience a breakthrough upon discovering something new about each other. A breakthrough that could only be possible through bottom-up coaching style leadership.
My father and his wife do healing work together. Theirs is a process that involves them working together with clients to produce a kind of ‘snapshot’ of someone’s emotional and physical status. It’s a fascinating process and something they’ve been doing together now for more than a decade. But how did they come up with their formula?
They were both doing their own form of healing work before they were married, but when they came together, they began forming an entirely new form of healing work. Early in this process, my father didn’t know that his eventual spouse had the ability to work in a certain capacity. Not until after they had been working together for several months. By taking a bottom-up coaching style leadership approach, his wife was able to demonstrate her unique healing talent, and he was able to celebrate it – as opposed to squashing it or feeling threatened by it. Their revelation opened up a whole new avenue for them as a couple, and as business partners.
This is coaching style leadership.
“Don’t you love it,” Robb says, “when you’re getting to know someone? A friendship or companion or spouse – the gifts just begin to complement one another slowly but surely. It’s like a diamond where you start to go this way or that way and it’s shining in a slightly different way. You can even think of competition in business – you could be in a similar space but how they shine is going to be different than how you shine. That’s why I’m a firm believer that there’s no need for competition – there’s a lot of space out there even when you’re in similar space.”
This kind of self-awareness in your skills (and in others) brings a confidence that transforms other people in your field from competition to potential collaborators. Bringing people together – even within the same industry – is effective not only to improve your business but also to develop an effective form of leadership.
Leaders don’t look at the work and accomplishments of others with jealous eyes. Instead, they see the value in what others bring to the table and the potential the group has by everyone working together.
When I think of leaders, I think of mainstream figures such as Sir Richard Branson, founder of numerous businesses including Virgin Airlines and Virgin Galactic. Branson’s whole message is to “build people.” Branson has achieved a level of greatness by focusing on others.
The best and most effective leaders lead by example. When it comes to getting down and doing the work, they understand the value in working alongside others. This places them in a role of coach or mentor, and in a role of learning.
By making their guidance complementary instead of instructional, they give others a chance for their own epiphanies and realizations.
About the Podcast and Video
The podcast and video featured in this post were derived from The White Collar Therapy Show. The WCT Show is a bi-weekly live webcast about two friends meeting for coffee to catch up on each other’s personal and professional lives, and to discuss some important matters related to the workplace.
For more information about the show and to sign up with White Collar Therapy, follow this link. In addition to the show, WCT offers a monthly group coaching session for business leaders.