How to Become a Leadership Coach

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How to Become a Leadership Coach and Empower Others

Leaadership Coach
We have always been taught that leadership is an innate skill, but it is also something that can be developed and honed over time, much like any technical skill. But what is coaching leadership skills in people, and how does it impact them? And can anyone become a leadership coach? In this article, we shall understand what a leadership coach is, what the profession entails, the various responsibilities of a coach concerning their clients, what qualities they should embody, why coaching is important in leadership roles, and some simple steps that can help you become an effective leadership coach to others.

A leadership coach, in simple terms, helps individuals transform into leaders. They provide you with guidance, coaching, feedback and support so that you can transform yourself with improved leadership skills and become an effective manager. Leadership coaches work across all hierarchical levels of an organisation, from the entry-level to the top-level executives. Leadership coaches help individuals tap into their underlying potential, so to speak. They allow individuals to assess their strengths and weaknesses, and help them set goals and chart paths to achieve them, while also helping them harness ancillary skills like communication, conflict management, emotional intelligence development, delegation and people management. Furthermore, they connect with people either in individual or group sessions and provide regular feedback and support via various communication channels.

Now that we have understood what a leadership coach is, let us understand what it entails, and what to expect when you are leadership coaching for executives.

What Does Leadership Coaching Entail and What to Expect

As a leadership coach, you are responsible for empowering employees of all pay grades to become self-aware, which aids in transformational change both personally and professionally, within individuals and the organisation as well. Furthermore, as you are providing support and advancement techniques to employees, they will feel more motivated to perform better and achieve personal and work targets and become more goal-oriented, which will help improve retention and aid in their relations with coworkers, as they will become more capable of communicating their needs and necessities.
You shall also assist in improving overall workplace dynamics and help bolster the success of the organisation from within. Your skills will also help ensure that you create effective and strong leaders, from the smallest of departments, which will provide a strong internal structure to the company, making it sustainable through difficulties and change with your counsel in workplace management, conflict resolution, and strategy development.
As far as what you should expect in day-to-day life as a coach, it is a dynamic job. You may be conducting one-on-one sessions with individual clients, or training whole departments and company staff. You may either be working for a set number of sessions with an individual private client for specific situations on a short-term basis or be hired on retainer by organisations for a longer contract and take weekly or monthly sessions to check progress levels.

Regardless of the dynamism in your schedule, you need to remove time for prep, which includes individual developmental plans for each client, staying updated on the latest trends in training and development, reading and accessing additional resources, etc. Additionally, you will be offering a service, so you shall also need to remove a section of your time for legalities, paperwork, advertising, sourcing new clients through networking or marketing, and creating a legacy with personal branding through speaking at engagements and seminars, to create a client network along with a professional peer network.

Responsibilities of Leadership Coaches

  • Aiding New Leaders in Role Adaptation: In an organisation, when the leadership changes and newly hired/promoted executives are at the helm, they may often need help to adjust to their new roles in the workplace. Leadership coaches step in and aid these executives by helping them prioritise urgent issues, set clear goals for themselves and the organisation as a whole, and help them formulate action plans to achieve these goals. Furthermore, these coaches also help the leaders to refresh their communication strategies.
  • Evaluating Leader’s Strengths and Areas for Improvement: Leadership coaches also help you improve your perception in the workplace as a leader. They conduct surveys and get feedback from other employees about the executive, and help you identify any problem areas and weaknesses that you may need to improve upon by conducting behavioural, psychological and performance-based personal evaluations as well.
  • Providing Ongoing Support and Guidance: Apart from continuous assessment, leadership coaches also help to track your performance and help you gain a unique point of view on any issues that may have arisen.
  • Guiding Continuous Self-Improvement: Leadership coaches support executives throughout the entire adjustment process, and even after that. They help you maintain and expand your skills, both technical and soft skills. They help the leaders grow and provide and recommend additional developmental resources, along with engaging leaders in training programs and helping them keep improving steadily.

Now that we understand the responsibilities executive leadership coaching may entail, let us also take a look at the various characteristics you should have or cultivate if you wish to become a leadership coach in the future.

Characteristics of a Leadership Coach

If you are planning to engage in executive coaching, leadership cultivation and training, then there are some attributes that you need to embody and soft skills you need to have to accurately and effectively guide individuals to achieve their full potential as leaders. Some of those qualities and attributes are listed below:
  • Empathy: Empathy means being able to step into the shoes of others. An empathetic individual can relate to others and their emotions, experiences and thoughts on a deeper level, where they can theoretically understand what the situation is from the perspective of another person.
  • Strong Communication Skills: Strong communication skills entail not only being an excellent speaker, and being able to fluently articulate one’s thoughts, but also being a great active listener as well. You should be perceptive and be able to pick up on body language cues, analyse information expressed to you and be able to ask relevant questions, and be able to provide feedback accordingly.
  • Relevant Knowledge and Experience: Having relevant knowledge and experience helps in becoming a better and more effective coach. You should have a clear understanding of business machinations and any helpful life experience is always useful. Additionally, being professionally trained and certified in crisis management and leadership, team management, conflict resolution strategies, etc., will only add to your training arsenal.

How to Become a Leadership Coach

If you are interested in executive and leadership coaching as a career path, the process to become a certified coach is quite simple, as it involves just 4 simple steps! The following steps are listed below:

Step 1: Gain Experience

You will be a more impactful coach if you have some professional and life experience of your own. You can become a leadership coach regardless of your work background, whether it is in human resources management, corporate positions, or even consulting! When you have previously occupied a leadership role of your own, it is easier for you to not only grasp concepts while learning but also add personal anecdotes and stories to make the lessons you teach more interesting and personalised.

Step 2: Develop Leadership Skills

Along with life and work experience, it is also essential for you to develop soft skills like people management, critical thinking skills, and analytical and problem-solving abilities, to name a few. These soft skills will help you become a more effective coach for future and potential leaders, as it will help you understand any issue they may face that much better, and in turn, help them with the right support and advice.

Step 3: Earn Certifications

While you do not necessarily need to get certified as a leadership coach, it is always a plus to have additional certifications that bolster your work and life experience. You can choose to get a leadership coaching certification, or diplomas in organisational management, conflict management and many more, to ensure that your qualifications seem more convincing to potential clients.

You can also opt to get a certification as a soft skills trainer, where you will learn many useful skills and tools that will provide you with the right techniques to become an excellent leadership coach. If you wish to understand more about the various aspects and potential possibilities of being a soft skills trainer, click here to read more.

Ready to step into the role of a leadership coach? Embark on a journey to empower aspiring leaders to fulfil their potential!

Earn your soft skills certification

Step 4: Continue Your Education

While you may be a teacher to others, you are also a learner at heart. To teach is to learn, as they say. You need to constantly keep upskilling and training yourself to stay on pace with trends in teaching and management techniques. Attend seminars, programs and discussions with other peers in your chosen field to build a strong network and community to ask for aid and advice whenever you need it.

Leadership Coaching vs. Executive Coaching

While the experience you may need is fairly similar for both of these career paths, there is a subtle difference between the two. Leadership coaches, while being externally hired, work with employees from all levels of the organisation, from entry-level employees to higher management. Similarly, executive coaches are also hired externally but focus more on behavioural changes and development and coach higher management and top executives in an organisation about techniques in psychology, management and organisational behaviour, where they are essentially teaching executives to become leaders and efficient managers of their organisation and drive it towards success. Conversely, leadership coaches help all types of employees unlock their full potential but identifying strengths, weaknesses, personal and professional goals, and help them become leaders in their own right, and assist them in charting a path to achieve said goals.
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