A leader is expected to have trained, taught, and recited the journey of 1000 miles while concurrently evaluating their team’s growth.

In businesses, the nuances of being a leader go beyond just holding the goals of the team. Organisations today are looking for a more holistic approach to unleashing the team’s power to disrupt, create, commit and consistently deliver. This is especially true since the world of work has become hybrid. Change and adaptability seem to be the only constant.

The post-pandemic world has brought a huge shift in the way employees approach their careers.

  • Making it to the top was fundamental before. Now employees are taking a more holistic approach towards lives and careers.
  • With the gain in mental health awareness and the need for self-care, there is a huge shift in why people quit for these reasons.
  • Unsatisfactory work environments, disappointing leadership and not envisioning growth are a few primary reasons why employees make career shifts.

The need for more internal coaches

Organisations today need more internal coaches who can:

  • Repeatedly engage with all their peers
  • Help build a sustainable structure that the organisation can maintain
  • Help increase patience and strengthen personalities

This is opposed to external consultants, who may not have a personalized way of up-skilling employees. These leadership coaches not only help groom the organisation up from its foundations but also help employees be more resilient, strengthen personalities and hence enhance self-confidence and productivity.

Now more than ever, there is an increasing need to have leaders as an internal coach their teams while also keeping the momentum going, in a business.

2 Challenges faced in leadership coaching

These are some of the challenges faced in leadership coaching:

1. Convincing peers that they need coaching:

Most people are conditioned to believe that it is a slow, tedious process that needs them to put in additional hours of work and practice. As a leader who is shaping strategy, you need to think big, engage, evoke the need to make a change and be willing to learn, take feedback and listen.

2. The ‘we will make it happen’ approach

Most managers use their backgrounds and experiences to sell the ways they believe they can ‘make it happen’. While this approach might have a lot to recommend, it definitely has its downsides too, since it involves a CEO or team leader passing their knowledge to most juniors with lesser experience.

This method does little to ignite any motivation or energy in the listener. The key to breaking the monotony is to be an evolving, open-minded leader and adopt methods that best keep the team engaged while also creating a positive environment.

A coaching model

The best internal coaches are those who can be seen as reliable, trustworthy and easy to engage with. Learning from a personality like this grooms the coachee to set achievable goals for oneself and the team.
While all of this describes a utopian workplace, it can only be executed while an internal coach can consistently engage and invest time while keeping in mind organisational goals as well.

The GROW model:

A common internal coaching method often referred to, is the GROW model devised in the 1980s by Sir John Whitmore. GROW stands for:

GOAL – Establishing a short-term as well as an overall career goal.

REALITY – Asking the right questions is rooted in establishing facts and building constructive conversations, as this is critical to keep your mentees grounded and focused.

OPTIONS – Helping mentees think out-of-the-box and prompting them to think freely by broadening their options.

WILL – This refers to the will to act on their goals and encourage teamwork. This process usually happens organically, once you go through the previous stages.

While this might be a perfect fit for some organisations, a leader must work on developing and displaying internal coaching skills that are best suited for their coachees. Most employees are more likely to be committed to professional growth in their workplace when they believe their leaders are the ones, who they see as their internal coaches who are invested in their well-being and are willing to work with them towards their goals.

As an internal coach, a few tips one could follow include:

  • Acknowledging effort, progress and innovativeness
  • Encouraging goals for the team and individual employees
  • Empowering employees to reinvent themselves while indulging in realistic conversations and encouraging a growth mindset
  • Being willing to listen to and learn from feedback
  • Encouraging coachees to build networks within their organisation
  • Inviting coachees to set up mentoring relationships with senior leaders

Have you used any of these approaches as an internal coach?

Sailaja Manacha

Sailaja Manacha

Sailaja Manacha, a Master certified Coach from ICF, is known for her programs and coaching methods that combine psychology with leadership practices. In her work, Sailaja draws from Psychology, Ontology, NLP and Spiritual frameworks as well as rich, real-world experiences.

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