Coaching skills quote: average vs awesome leadership
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If You Can’t Coach, You Can’t Lead

OK, that headline might be a little provocative, but I do believe that if you can’t coach, you can’t lead. Why? Because in the world of work, with all its challenges and complexities, coaching skills matter more than ever.

According to the 2021 CEO Leadership Report, the four practices that impact the quality of leadership in the organization include internal coaching, talent development, leadership development and leadership assessment and feedback. An effective leader encourages employees rather than criticizes them, asks questions as opposed to giving answers, and helps them grow as opposed to telling them what needs to be done. Organizations that don’t invest in the coaching skills that create better leaders will not be able to stay ahead in a VUCA world.

Why coaching skills matter

The key to being an effective leader is not what you know or what you can do, but rather how you influence and motivate others. That’s why coaching skills are so essential for those in positions of leadership.

Coaching is about helping people to develop and achieve their potential. It’s based on the premise that everyone has the capacity to grow and improve, given the right environment and support.

As a leader, you need to be able to create a space in which your team members feel safe to take risks, experiment and stretch themselves. This requires self-awareness, an understanding of human behaviour as well as the ability to empathize and connect with others.

Through coaching, leaders can help their teams develop key skills such as collaboration, communication, self-awareness and self-management. These skills are essential for high performance in any team environment.

Coaching also supports the development of a strong culture of trust and respect within a team. This is crucial for long-term success, as it enables teams to thrive even when things get tough.

If you want to be an effective leader, start by developing your coaching skills. It’s the best way to get results through people, especially in an environment where constant change is the norm.

Old management doesn’t work for new work

In the past, the corporate world was very different. Businesses were run in a top-down, command-and-control manner. Employees were required to stick to rigid procedures, and were not allowed to question the status quo or to make mistakes. There was no room for innovation.

However, times have changed. The modern workplace needs individuals and teams to be more collaborative and able to adapt to changing circumstances. Employees are expected to be proactive and take initiative. Mistakes are seen as an opportunity to learn and improve.

The old style of management does not work in this new environment. Leaders need to be able to coach their employees and help them develop their skills. They need to be able to create an environment where employees feel comfortable taking risks and trying new things.

Core coaching skills to elevate your leadership

There is no question that great leaders are also great coaches. Coaching skills are essential for any leader who wants to develop and motivate their team to achieve high performance. But what exactly are coaching skills, and how can you develop them?

Here are six core coaching skills that will elevate your leadership capabilities:

  1. Communication: The ability to communicate clearly, concisely and convincingly is essential for any leader. You need to be able to get your point across in a way that is gives a clear message, creates space for new ideas, builds trust and maintains a positive working relationship.
  2. Deep listening: Effective coaching requires deep listening skills. This means really paying attention to what your team members are saying, even if you don’t agree or fully understand. It’s about understanding the full picture so that you can help them achieve their goals.
  3. Prioritizing tasks: As a leader, you need to be able to set clear goals, prioritize tasks and delegate effectively. Elevating your coaching skills will enable you to better support your team members as they prioritize their own work in line with these objectives.
  4. Decision-making: Great leaders are able to make decisions quickly and effectively without losing sight of the big picture. Self-reflection is a key coaching skill which will enable you to know when to trust your gut instinct, as well as how to weigh up different options and make informed decisions based on data and experience.
  5. Mentoring: A key coaching skill is the ability to mentor team members effectively. This means being able to provide support and guidance when needed, while also challenging them to build resilience, be accountable, and reach their full potential.
  6. Team management: Another important coaching skill is managing teams effectively. This includes being able to identify individual strengths and weaknesses, as well as developing strategies for dealing with conflict within the team.


A coaching approach may feel too “soft” for managers, who are used to solving performance issues by telling individuals what to do. However, coaching encompasses more than just the activities undertaken by consultants engaged to support senior executives in enhancing their personal and professional capabilities. Although they may be crucial as an emergency measure, external resources are less impactful in the long term. Internal coaching, which is ongoing and carried out by the people who work there, helps to develop a truly learning organization.

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