Does Leadership Coaching Really Work?

If you are reading this article, you may be a leader who might be contemplating working with a coach to take your leadership to the next level.

However, given that you are considering and researching whether to invest your precious time and hard-earned money into leadership development you are looking for confirmation and evidence that committing to a coaching program that will deliver the results you need.

Read on below and you’ll hopefully find out if leadership coaching really works and secondly, if we are the right fit for you as a coach too.

One thing we should say from the start, even though thought of leadership coaching could be daunting, the whole process should be an enjoyable one for you.

Get stuck in, work as hard as we do for you and pop out at the end better for it.

Now onto the good stuff!

What does the research say about whether leadership coaching is effective?

The good news is that there is a vast body of peer-reviewed empirical research that confirms that coaching is an effective method to develop leadership capability.

The research confirms that yes, leadership coaching does most definitely work and this means it can work for you too.

It also confirms that coaching not only benefits the leader being coached, but also exerts a positive ripple effect on those who interact with the leader undergoing coaching.

Due to the reflective nature of leadership development, some of the latest research also confirms that leadership growth can continue once the coaching official coaching engagement ends.

So the well doesn’t run dry after you finish your sessions, you can keep on evolving.

So what needs to be in place to ensure leadership coaching works for you?

However, like anything context is everything and there are certain conditions which are needed for the coaching intervention to work and deliver optimum results for you over time.

Great leadership can grow to be like a giant redwood if the right conditions are created, fertile soil, enough water, sunlight and favourable weather conditions.

Here are some of the critical elements that you need to ensure the right conditions exist to make good on your investment and get the positive impact you need from leadership coaching.

What you need to bring to the coaching relationship

  • A willingness to explore your inner thoughts and assumptions about the world and the people in it
  • Curiosity to explore situations from multiple perspectives and to become comfortable with ambiguity
  • A level of trust that your coach has the very best of intentions for your leadership success
  • A sense of curiosity about how you show up to others and how others may interpret your leadership style and the way you communicate
  • Openness to new ideas, ways of thinking and being
  • A sincere desire to become the best leader you can be
  • A willingness to examine behaviours and assumptions that might limit your leadership growth
  • Tenacity to stay the course and do the hard yards, like anything work while leadership coaching involves some mental sweat

When you start with any leadership coach there will be times where you feel out of your comfort zone and more, but this is all part of the process for growing into a better leader.

Over time, as the processes becomes second nature to you, you will reap the rewards of all of your hard work.

What you need your leadership coach to bring to the coaching relationship?

Your coach must hold qualifications in coaching psychology or have psychology related background.

Research demonstrates that coaches from psychology backgrounds deliver superior outcomes for their clients, so why would you work with a coach who has no training in psychology?

Would you work with a personal trainer who had no training in exercise physiology?

Alternatively, would you be happy they played footy as a teenager?

Your leadership coach should have road experience and understanding of coaching leaders within the complexity of different types of business organisations.

Modern organisations operate as a complex system and these need to be understood.

Only a trained coach with a deep understanding of systems theory can help you to make sense of and navigate these environments.

The ability of your coach to be able to view the world through systems lens is key to helping you to build increased perspective taking capacity that will grow your leadership capabilities.

A commitment to an evidence-based approach is handy too.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and other pop psychology approaches may carry popularity with some coaches, but these approaches are certainly not evidence-based.

That is, no peer-reviewed empirical research confirms these approaches deliver results.

To ensure you get the outcomes you need, your coach must deliver coaching from an evidence-based approach.

Purchasing coaching that’s not from an evidence-based approach is a little like buying a lotto ticket.

You’re taking your chances on getting a great outcome for yourself.

Your coach must have unconditional positive regard for your success, without this the coaching relationship will not thrive, and you will not get the results you desire. Your coach must be in your corner

The coach you choose to partner with must possess above and beyond listening skills and needs to be able to hear what you don’t say as well as the words you speak.

What you don’t say can be as important, and the things you verbalise, your coach’s ability to listen what you do and don’t say is paramount

Your leadership coach must champion a commitment to ethical coaching practice and possess a strong commitment to creating confidentiality in everything they do to protect your interests.

Your coach should be able to talk to the industry code they uphold.

The coach you work with must be able to hear what you say in from a non-judgemental standpoint.

If you feel your coach is judging you, it’s likely your ability to trust them will fly out the window, along with the outcomes you need

As part of your coach’s commitment to ongoing ethical coaching practice, they must take part in ongoing regular coaching supervision.

In coaching supervision coaches’ partner with an expert coaching supervisor and reflect on the coaching strategies implemented and discuss any ethical issues which arise that may impact the success of the coaching engagement

During your coaching sessions, many emotions and issues arise outside of our conscious awareness, for both the leader receiving coaching and the coach.

Reflecting on these thoughts and issues within the safety of professional coaching supervision relationship can bring these issues into clearer focus, making them apparent through extended joint discussion.

Coaching supervision is a crucial developmental activity for leadership coaches and it demonstrates their commitment to providing quality coaching and your future success.

If your coach does not have a coaching supervisor, you should ask why not?

What should you do next, pick up the phone?

Many leadership coaches offer free chemistry sessions or catch-ups over coffee.

However, this can place the leadership coach in the unenviable position where they may feel they need to sell themselves to you in a “pick me” competition.

We don’t like to do it this way at Coaching Leadership.

We liken our process to this, they say the best way to find out if you like Thai food is to taste it.

By reading hundreds of reviews online describing how Thai food tastes and seeing a lot of lovely pictures of the food won’t tell you for sure if you like it or not.

So the best way to test the water with a prospective leadership coach is the same, you need to experience being coached by them for a short free trial coaching session.

During your trial coaching session, you can decide if your coach has the critical capabilities outlined in our article above.

So, we say the best way to work out if we will work together is to work together!

It’s not rocket science, but it may change the way you see the world and how others experience you as a leader from even one meeting.

So bearing this in mind and also the fact that we here at Coaching Leadership have all of the qualities and points above covered, it makes sense to offer you a session on the house.

So call us today on 0459 222 543 to arrange a complimentary leadership coaching session (if your local) and start taking your leadership career to where you want it to be.

Let’s make leadership coaching really work together!

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