Leadership Development through Coaching and Mentoring

Posted by April Parks, M.S. Conflict Management

Nov 3, 2015 11:00:00 AM

Leadership DevelopmentLeadership is defined as the action of leading a group of people or an organization. Synonyms include guidance, direction, control, management, and supervision. Pertaining to the workplace and effective leadership, a leader is one who doesn’t control necessarily. Instead, it’s a leader’s task to advise, guide and give direction to the people that follow them. Leadership has nothing to do with seniority or job titles. It’s a matter of inspiring others to think outside of the box, empowering employees to be innovative and to think creatively, and creating an environment full of enthusiasm and positive energy. Bill Gates said, “as we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower us.” It’s a social influence that’s not fueled by authority or power. It’s someone who is able to influence their teammates to be their best and to do their best for the company.

So what does a leader look like in the workplace? Characteristics of specific leaders can be different, but there are some overall commonalities that all good leaders share.

  • Leaders are honest. The leaders in the company should uphold a certain ethical code and lead their team by example. Creating an environment of honesty fosters a community of trust within the company. When a team is able to trust their leadership figures, they’ll feel more comfortable in the workplace and much more likely to be present at work and willing to go the extra mile for the company.
  • Communication is very important for a good leader. The entire company’s success comes down to how the team is able to communicate with their peers and their managers. A good leader will practice clear and concise communication at all times. This helps the team to achieve their goals in a more efficient way because no one is confused about what’s being done.
  • A good leader practices accountability with self and with the team members. Hold everyone accountable so the team knows their work is just as important as the rest of the team’s work. Make sure standards are being upheld.

With all of these in mind, how can businesses mentor or coach current employees to become leaders in the company? 

It’s not a matter of simply teaching a person some new skills or sending them to a leadership training conference. It’s much more than that. Going to training doesn’t give people the opportunity to practice their skills; it only tells them how it should be done. While this information can be helpful, different people will lead different ways so some information may not always be applicable to every person in attendance.

The future of the workplace is uncertain and complex. The role of a leader is to nurture potential leaders and their ability to think creatively and innovatively and to expand their limits. They must “break through constructs that define who they are today so they can be more tomorrow.”

The number one reason that leadership training fails is because you can’t train leaders at a seminar, they must be developed through real experiences and pushed to exceed the limits! One must coach and mentor a potential leader. Instead of the dreaded training approach, development of leaders is collaborative, contextual, and nuanced.

So, focus on the future of the company. Mold candidates into an outstanding leader through clear direction and a positive atmosphere. Give feedback regularly and communicate concisely with all employees. Force employees to think outside the box and drive them to exceed expectations and go beyond the threshold. Instill trust and be fair. Know others’ strengths and weaknesses and motivate and inspire. This style of leadership will be appreciated by employees and will lead to higher engagement, better innovation, and a standard of accountability. Use a coaching/mentor style leadership development approach, and your company will reap the benefits of an internal leadership pipeline.

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Topics: Leadership