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Leadership Coaching: Why It's Essential to Your Career Development | Fairygodboss
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Why Leadership Coaching Is Essential to Your Career Development
Monkey Business / Adobe Stock
Laura Berlinsky-Schine,
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As a leader, you have a lot of responsibilities. Changing how you do things may not be high on your list of priorities; in fact, it may not appear on that list at all. But leadership coaching is an important tool you shouldn't overlook. It's not necessarily about overhauling your leadership style and way of managing; it's about leadership development and learning effective strategies for bettering your company and yourself.

Are you interested in using a leadership coach? Read on to learn about the benefits it can bring to your professional and personal life.

What is leadership coaching?

Usually conducted one on one, leadership coaching, also know as executive coaching, is a relationship between two individuals in which one person (the coach) advises another (the professional being coached) on managerial and other executive skills they need to be an effective leader. Coaches help their trainees develop strong leadership skills and reach their professional and organizational goals.

Leaders may engage personal leadership coaches, or their organizations may hire coaches to work with their employees. You or your organization might engage a coach upon starting a new job or ascending to a leadership position in an existing one, or at any other point in your career. A coach may work with clients for weeks, months, or even years, depending on the goals and outcomes of the relationship.

What does leadership coaching entail?

Your coach may use a variety of methods to help you realize your leadership potential. The specifics of her approach will vary according to her particular professional coaching style. Some common methods include:

• Gathering and analyzing data on the leader's behaviors and those within the organization, including the performance of managers and team members

• Frequently meeting with the leader for established sessions to discuss plans and issues

• Offering guidance and support and addressing specific and general concerns

• Providing tools and resources, such as learning opportunities, technology, and reading materials

• Assisting with the setting and carrying out of goals

• Offering professional feedback on the leader's individual skills and progress

What are the benefits of leadership coaching?

Some people are born leaders. Others grow into the role. No matter where you fall on that spectrum, everyone can improve their leadership style and hone their skills. Here are four benefits of using professional coaching services:

1. You'll gain a new perspective.

It's natural to be caught up in your and your company's day-to-day concerns, while losing sight of the bigger picture. An executive coach can provide an outside perspective and help you gain perspective yourself. Since the executive coach has probably worked with numerous clients and people from many different companies, she has insight into what works and what doesn't. She'll be able to tell you if a plan won't work and suggest other methods to try instead. She can also help you discover new ways of tackling problems and how to best use the talents of your employees.

2. Your company will perform better within your industry.

Effective leadership is essential for your company's success. The direction of the organization, after all, depends on powerful leadership. Each coaching session you attend doesn't just help you grow on an individual level; it also benefits your entire company. You'll develop new strategies and learn how to set more effective long-term goals for your company, which can lead to greater success as a whole. Your employees may be happier as a result, and the company itself may become more profitable.

3. You'll gain confidence and self-awareness.

New leaders, in particular, may worry about their skills and whether they have what it takes to lead effectively. Learning is essential to any role, whether you've been in it for a week or five years. No job stays exactly the same forever (and if yours does, it may be time to move on), so you should always seek out experiences to help you discover new approaches and ways to tackle your work.

Your coaching relationship can also help you discover strengths and talents you may not have known existed. This can help you build your confidence as you grow in your position as a leader.

4. You'll become a better leader.

This, of course, is the whole point of the coaching practice. Depending on the coaching approach your coach uses, she will likely guide you to become more self-aware about your decisions and why you make them, how you can improve, how you can effectively delegate and use the competencies of your team members, and what steps you can take to both enhance your own career and the direction of your company. In short, you'll become better at your job.

Should you use a leadership coach?

A leadership coach can offer many benefits to both junior and senior leaders alike. She can help you realize your own potential, as well as that of your team members and the entire company. A coaching relationship can persist for years and make you a stronger leader and professional.

Whether or not you do decide to hire a coach, you should always seek out opportunities to evaluate your performance and grow on a personal and professional level. Attend industry events. Network. Solicit feedback from managers and employees alike. Accept constructive criticism. No matter what the situation—even one in which you've made a mistake—you can take it as a learning opportunity and grow from it.

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