The Coach Approach: How to Be an Inspiring Leader

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“People cannot be managed. Inventories can be managed, but people must be led.” This quote is attributed to H. Ross Perot, founder of Electronic Data Systems and Perot Systems. Successful organizations and companies require inspiring leadership. Let’s take a look at the “coach approach” to leadership.

Leadership is a relationship between leaders and their employees. In a research survey conducted by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner for their book, “The Leadership Challenge,” the authors identified the characteristics that employees wanted in their leaders most often. Employees wanted leaders who are:

  1. Honest
  2. Competent
  3. Forward-looking
  4. Inspiring
  5. Intelligent

Did these make your list?

Successful companies need good management and leadership. One is not usually a substitute for the other. A coaching leader is a skilled people manager because he or she realizes that people are the most important asset a company can have. Walt Disney is quoted as saying, “Disney’s most important asset goes home every night.”

If you are a manager, consider these suggestions to increase your leadership quotient:

  • Surround yourself with people different from yourself. If you only see the big picture, you will need some detail people on your team to ensure that important tasks don’t fall through the cracks. There is strength in diversity of skills and experiences.
  • Create an environment that makes it easy for people to tell you the truth. When you are the leader, ignorance is not bliss! Your employees are closer to the front line with your customers and usually know what is and isn’t working. Ask them for their suggestions and listen to what they have to say.

Striving to be a coaching leader is critical to your leadership success. Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo of top-down management. Make the choice to be a leader.

The pace of the business world has increased, and we often think we don’t have the time to focus on the people instead of the many urgent situations that demand our attention. That is the perfect time to realize that people are the reason that they call us leaders. No successful leader becomes successful alone. Those who use the “coach approach” to leadership reap the benefits of creating a legacy of leaders who keep the company strong for now and the future.

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