It is Evans’ belief that High Performing Teams require High Performing Leaders and therefore leadership development is a strong component of creating high performing teams. Leadership coaching serves as a valuable tool for enhancing a leader’s capacity to build, empower, and sustain a high performing team. Laura English and Sean Miller are two of Evans Incorporated’s certified leadership coaches. They specialize in coaching leaders at all levels from emerging, newly promoted, and experienced on a wide variety of topics across industries and organizations.
In this series, Laura and Sean are challenging each other to share their thoughts, insights and coaching experiences on topics related to High Performing Leaders using a word association exercise. They believe that new learning connections are generated when the brain is challenged (i.e., responding to a “surprise” word) and they know that there is “power is in the conversation” (i.e., each will give a response to the other’s story). We hope their stories and insights will inspire you to take charge of your leadership growth!
Leaders often think the best way to help their team members connect to their roles is to simply tell them what their role (title) is and what is expected of them at a high-level. While this approach may temporarily fill in an information-gap, it won’t solve the issues of role clarity/confusion. Telling someone to do something or be something is a quick fix, whereas coaching someone to generate their own thoughts, insights, and understandings creates a personal connectivity that is sure to last.
When it comes to working with leaders on the topic of role definition, the coaching conversation will flow much like the one I described above. The leader will look inward and think about their own role, how they connect to it, and what gaps exist. Once the leader feels clear and comfortable with their own role and what it entails, they will be ready to engage with their team to support the creation of a team-wide shared role understanding. The leader will operate with a coach-mindset and will start the conversation with a simple yet powerful question like: “How would you describe your role to someone outside the team?” This provides the team with the space to think deeply about their roles and positions the leader as a support rather than an authority.
I like how leading someone through their own role descriptions provides clarity and insight not only for themselves but for their ability to lead a team. It also seems to help with building empathy and connection with team members. Of course, I strongly believe that a coaching mindset for a leader builds stronger connections for team members both for their individual understanding of their role and for common understanding between the leader and the team member.
Empowerment in a team setting is how successful work gets done and how team members feel valued. At its core, coaching breeds empowerment for the leader and those benefits can be extended to teams especially when leaders see the positive outcomes.
In this Huffington Post article, the author describes four elements of empowerment: meaningfulness, impact, independence and power. I believe in working with my clients the core intention is to achieve those concepts through articulating what they want (meaningfulness), what will be different when they have what they want (impact), defining the path that best suits their strengths and talents (independence) and acknowledging and celebrating the achievements along the way (power).
By working with a coach to transform a desired state into a reality, leaders can extend that same thinking process for their team which helps them to feel empowered and inspired to support the team to achieve success.
Empowerment at its core, is a feeling that someone trusts and believes in you to “get the job done in a way you think is best.” As a coach, you provide that feeling to your clients, and through that experience they gain the insight of how it can benefit their teams.
Are you thinking that your team values and personal values are misaligned? Do you have values for your team at all? Are you looking for support in how to develop a vision and/or inspire your team to align with it? Are you battling between your tactical needs versus setting the course for the future?
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