Good leaders aren’t born, they’re trained.
Take for example Tiger Woods. Behind every elite athlete is always an experienced coach. These coaches guide the elite athlete to prepare themselves so they are able to perform on demand when it matters the most. Elite athletes do an incredible job focusing on what they can control and invest in the proper training to develop the necessary skills to perform under high scrutiny, pressure, and high stakes. Like elite athletes, leaders these days are facing more pressure and uncertainty in their line of work than ever before.
In a recent leadership survey in 2021 by Verizon Media, 76% of leaders are feeling overwhelmed and 66% of senior leaders have polled saying that they have or are experiencing burnout. There is more pressure today on executives because the landscape of work is changing rapidly, and leaders are facing unique challenges never experienced before pre-pandemic. If leaders begin to train like an elite athlete trains for competition, executives can begin developing skills to prepare for the unknown, focus only on things that they can control, and build accurate self-awareness so they remain comfortable being uncomfortable. Leadership coaching can help guide a leader from good to great, even during an unprecedented time like today.
5 Benefits of leadership coaching:
- Develop accurate self-awareness. According to a study conducted by Erika Anderson, author of Be Bad First: Get Good At Things Fast To Get Ready For The Future, she reports that leaders aren’t as self-aware as they think they are. Developing accurate self-awareness is highly correlated with organizational effectiveness and profitability. Leadership coaching will help build the necessary skills to see yourself more clearly and give you an objective and accurate assessment of where you are strong and where there might be opportunities for growth.
- See others more clearly. Many leaders run into conflict because they misinterpret signals of others or have inaccurate assessments of those around them. A good leadership coach will have a non-biased and objective point of view so that you can see a different perspective of the situation. These interceptions by a coach can help mitigate areas of conflict, misunderstanding, or miscommunication.
- Develop innovative ways to respond. What got you here may not get you there. The same skills that got you into the leadership position may not be the same skills that are required for you to lead your organization most effectively. For example, I was working with one senior engineer who was recently appointed to an executive position. He was promoted because of his technical skills, and now that he was a director, he was no longer building products… he was building people. No one taught him the essential skills he needed to build trust with the relationships around him. No one taught him the language of emotional intelligence and empathic listening now that he was supervising people. Leadership coaching helped shift his priorities and equipped him with the right set of skills to adapt to his new role and begin to invest in people more than the products.
- Connect with your strengths. Leadership coaching brings out your natural strengths and helps you leverage your natural capabilities to lead others to do the same. When you feel seen and empowered, you are more likely to do the same for others and leverage their strengths to build better products and a better culture.
- Build more productive relationships. At the core, leadership coaching will help strengthen your relationships with those around you and especially with yourself. Everything we do revolves around relationships no matter what line of business we are in. Finding a good coach who can help you better communicate, relate to, and understand the key relationships around you will be essential to your success.
Like elite athletes, when executives begin investing in themselves to do the inner work, it will transform the entire team.
Dr. Mat Park is a senior organizational development leader and advisor at NASA. He is an associate professor in applied sport and performance psychology at Holy Names University, sport psychologist to some of the best athletes in the world and holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and a master’s in sport psychology. He is the director of leadership coaching and training at The Insight Company. Dr. Mat is also the founder of MPGA, an international mental performance golf academy that trains golfers and coaches around the world on the mental game of golf.