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!
When coaching leaders on the topic of values, I’ve noticed that their thinking initially veers towards “how do I instill values in my team?” As the coaching conversation “picks up steam” and new insights are generated, the leaders experience a shift from “how do I do it?” to “what do I believe in?”
This illustrates the importance of looking inward and developing a deeper sense of self before working with their teams to develop a value set. Self-awareness leads to having confidence around what you want and don’t want for your team. Through coaching, the leader will realize that although establishing team values is a shared experience between leaders and teams, the activity begins with the leader providing a baseline set of value possibilities and the process for discussion.
Once the leader has a clear sense of their own values, they are ready to think through what they want their value creation activity to look like, and how they will include their team in the process to maximize buy-in and generate results. Greater alignment between leader and team will occur because the leader made an early decision to do the “heavy lifting (thinking)” in the coaching conversation before engaging with their team.
As I read your statement the words “Walk the Talk” came to mind. By helping leaders align the organization’s values with their own values sets a solid basis for them to successfully operate as a cohesive team/organization. The team will more clearly and easily see value-driven actions of the leader and see how they align with the values of the team; hence, they will be motivated follow suit to match the leader’s actions/values.
When I think of vision and coaching leaders I get excited. I feel like a huge value of coaching is to help individuals to see themselves in the future succeeding and thriving beyond what they can currently imagine.
As a coach, I regularly challenge clients to be more aspirational than they normally are comfortable regarding their future either for themselves or for their team and organization. By working in this ‘stretchy yet supportive’ way leaders can see beyond the mission (what they do) to the vision (what they want to be).
Often the leader’s next challenge is to keep the vision’s fire burning. They need to support the team members to align their individual roles with the vision and to define the actions that will help to realize the vision. This visionary perspective can be challenging for leaders because they are required to toggle between the ‘mission-critical’ challenges of the day and the ‘visionary direction’ of the future.
Those two perspectives pull on different strengths – the former are more ‘boots on the ground’ strengths and the latter are more ‘blue sky’ strengths. Depending on the leader’s personal strengths and interests, being a visionary leader may be a challenge. A coach serves as a thinking partner to build strategies and plans to support the visionary mindset they need to inspire the team to align with the vision.
You’ve noticed that leadership vision is not a “one and done” conversation. Developing, implementing, and sustaining a leadership vision requires a series of nuanced discussions which challenge the leader to think beyond their vision for day 1. “Stretchy yet supportive”……makes me think of all the best coaches I’ve had in athletics and in the workplace. I think I’ll start using that phrase!
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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