Bookstores have shelves filled with titles on leadership and organizational culture. Here is a sampling of popular titles on Amazon. We like to read these books, join discussion groups (which can be wonderfully helpful) and attend workshops and conferences (also great!). Unfortunately, many of us have done all these things, and then fallen short in implementing and executing the insights gained or renewed.
Coaching is a process of working one-on-one or with a group and a facilitator/coach to:
- identify goals and tell a story of a preferred future
- assess current strengths and growth opportunities
- clarify the gaps between here/now and there/then
- develop a plan to close that gap, to make the journey
- MAKE THE JOURNEY!
That final step is the most difficult for many, though at any of these stages we can struggle. One major failure of leadership is to try and skip one of these stages all together.
Coaching also helps us understand our leadership culture in the organization – both our own style and that of the group. What is your leadership temperament? How does it fit with the followership styles of those in your organization? How does it fit in your context? Honest assessment of these issues is crucial to successful leadership of any organization.
You can begin by asking yourself some powerful and simple coaching questions:
- Where would you personally focus your energy and attention if you had every resource and no obstacle? – This is your dream.
- How do you convey this to those who follow you? – This is your message.
- How would your key followers answer question #1, about themselves and about you?
- How are you pursuing your dream and helping others do the same? – This is your mission.
- How many different directions are the people in your organization pulling?
- What is the greatest obstacle to pursuing your dream?
- What is the greatest strength, in you and in your team, for accomplishing your dream?
Once you begin to answer these questions, you will discover some things about the leadership culture in your organization. Is it active or passive, assertive or withdrawn? Is it unilateral or collaborative, solitary or cooperative? Who is really leading, and who is following?
Once you have some of these answers, you have some insight into what you can address to strengthen and fully integrate your leadership culture. Contact me if you want to explore this further.
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