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Coaching Leadership: Why the Effort is Worth It

Leadership Coaching

Welcome to the second in a series of articles about executive coaching.

Ask a dozen people what a leader does – and how he or she does it – and you’ll get a dozen different answers.

Daniel Goleman explains it more completely and eloquently in a Harvard Business Review article Leadership That Gets Results from 2000.

He highlights six basic styles of leadership:

  • Coercive
  • Authoritative
  • Affiliative
  • Democratic
  • Pacesetting
  • Coaching

How did he determine these styles?

Here is a brief summary:

These styles were determined by research data which confirms elevated levels of emotional intelligence (self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, social skills) produce the strongest and most effective leaders.

Success is found by creating an ideal organizational climate for people to succeed at their jobs. This climate has an outsized effect on making money, accounting for one-third of profitability.

How does positive company climate and work environment evolve?  By the type of effective leadership styles used by the manager to:

  1. motivate, gather, and use information
  2. make good decisions
  3. decide priorities
  4. manage change
  5. manage crisis

Goleman defines the six basic leadership styles as noted above: four effective and two non-effective. Coaching is one style in the “effective” category.

What is the Coaching Style of Leadership?

Coaching from the leader feels more like counseling and peer support.

The leadership “coach” looks to elevate the direct report to look good and be their best selves by encouraging successful and impressive behaviors at work. They keep the dialogue at an elevated level and mainly about work- not personality or personal problems. Some may require the coaching subject to clearly articulate their goals and behaviors in writing.

A leadership coach would employ such methods because they:

  • wish to retain and develop key talent
  • realize that the person has promising prospects for the future
  • understand the prohibitive cost of replacement
  • want the person to stay with the company

They realize everyone goes off track in a stressful, demanding business climate, and recent stress from work separation affects everyone differently.

Benefits of Coaching Leadership Style

A Good Leadership Coach:

  • finds unique strengths and weaknesses
  • allows goal setting
  • requires specific actions as “homework”
  • expects instruction and feedback
  • promotes new skills, learning methods and problem-solving ability

Did you know… the coaching leadership style is the least used, according to Goleman.


Coaching leadership is time consuming and takes practice to achieve results. It requires preparation and follow-up from the leader and defies the instinct for immediate, bottom-line financial results.

Research shows that personal development requires regular dialogue, empathy, and promoting a nurturing environment based on the premise that Goleman sums up:

“I believe in you, believe you are worth investing time and energy in you, and expect your best efforts in return.”

Goleman notes employees very often rise to that challenge, with their heart, mind, and soul.

Are You Ready for Coaching Style Leadership?

Best results occur when the coaching client is ready and willing to try the coaching leadership style.

The best coaching clients want to improve, are willing to change, and see how these newly obtained abilities help them advance in pay, responsibility, and job satisfaction. In a remedial or turn-around case, the coached individual may have no choice in the matter: it’s either up or out.

Forward-thinking companies and leaders are aware of this and have embraced coaching leadership for over 20 years.

Leaders may lack the skills needed for coaching, including patience, training, experience, and temperament. Hiring a professionally certified coach makes sense – a coach who has the knowledge, skills, and expertise to fulfill this vital organizational role that benefits the employee, sponsor, and the enterprise.

Ready to level up the way you lead? Schedule your free consultation today! Whether you’re just hopping off the plane in Boston – or enjoying the sun in LA – Mark Daly provides coaching services nationwide.