How can coaching make you a better leader?

My friend and colleague Gloria Burgess has a great take on going from an average leader to a great leader.

 

WHAT SEPARATES AVERAGE LEADERS FROM GREAT LEADERS?

NOVEMBER 11, 2013 BY  2 COMMENTS

A Fortune 500 company, a small business, a sports team, a cadre of youth volunteers. Whatever the size or focus, every successful organization has one thing in common: great leadership.

But what separates an average leader from a great leader? Is it enough to have years of experience, a degree from a top-notch university, or an impressive title? No: especially not in today’s complex, ever-evolving workplace.

The difference between average and great leaders begins long before they assume the mantle of leadership. In fact, a person can be a great leader even if they do not have a leadership title or position.

How is that possible? Because great leadership begins from within. It begins with who you are. Who you are when no one else is looking. Your core values and how you act on those values is what will distinguish you as a leader—every single time.

Recently, I was coaching a finance executive who was under intense pressure from the CEO to act in a manner that was inconsistent with his integrity. Sam (not his real name) knew in his heart what he should do. But his wife had been out of work for almost a year, and his son had just started his freshman year in college.

Contrary to popular notions about the role of a coach, this was not about fixing Sam. Nor was it about telling him what he should do or how to do it. My role was about supporting Sam to trust himself and to discover his own answers, so that he could act in a way that was authentic for him.

Unlike average leaders, great leaders are attuned to their inner selves—they are aware of their strengths and weaknesses. Self-awareness is a powerful attribute, especially when you are also courageous enough to acknowledge what you do not know and work diligently to find the answer! Being attuned to your inner self is an important aspect of leadership, because it allows you to be still, listen to your inner voice, and act with authenticity.

As our coaching relationship progressed, Sam gained a new appreciation for what it means and what it takes to stand firm for his beliefs and values. Although he cared about his boss and wanted to keep their relationship intact, Sam eventually concluded that he must confront his boss and tell him where he stood.

Given the gravity of the situation, Sam recognized that his decision to confront his boss could be a career-limiting move. More importantly, he recognized that yielding to the CEO’s wishes would compromise his character, which would ultimately diminish his relationships with the people he cared about the most—his family. Sam realized that if he were to devalue himself, he would be granting others permission to devalue him, thereby impacting his ability to influence others.

As my friend John Maxwell rightly reminds us, “Leadership is about influence. Nothing more, nothing less.” When we take a stand for what we believe and we act in congruence with our values, not only do we communicate our values, we also demonstrate our character. And we join with other great leaders who demonstrate that leadership is measured by the small acts we commit every single day.

Will you be an average leader or a great leader?

About the Author

Gloria_Burgess_WebLrgGloria Burgess is a Featured Writer for the John Maxwell Team Blog.

She is an inspiring, dynamic speaker who brings a wealth of experience to the platform.

A seasoned business executive, her powerful keynotes and seminars connect with audiences because she brings real-world, in-the-seat experience to corporate events, conferences, and meetings. Gloria speaks at events around the world.

Contact Gloria at http://www.johncmaxwellgroup.com/gloriaburgess/

What can a lake teach you about implementing change?

Have you encountered resistance when implementing improvements that cause change? As I plan to introduce several initiatives in one of the organizations I serve, I think about Ilan Shimar’s Advice from Nature Series. A lake would tell us to:

:: Be Clear

:: Make positive ripples

:: Look beneath the surface

:: Stay calm

:: Shore up friendships

:: Take time to reflect

:: Be full of life!

I am the type of person who always is looking for ways to improve things. This usually means change. Most people don’t like change. The lake would advise me to first be clear. Be clear about what I am trying to improve, why it needs improving, and what are the impacts of changing the status quo. Too many times it seems like people go off on some improvement initiative without being clear on what they are doing. I sometimes have a tendency to jump out and think my way through something as I go along. In this instance, I certainly need to be clear before I start making big waves.

Make positive ripples and look beneath the surface remind me to understand all the issues and approach the change in a positive manner. If I understand other people’s issues, I am better equipped to keep things positive. Nothing kills an initiative faster than a negative approach that causes walls of resistance to immediately go up. Getting too emotional can also fan the negative flames, so stay calm is always good advice here.

Shoring up friendships or developing your relationship with stakeholders is critical to making change. My chances of success are greater if I can use my relationships with stakeholders to make them a part of the process. After reflecting on all this, I am struck by the last piece of advice, be full of life. Remember, the goal here is to add value to the organization and improve it the best you can. The last thing I want to do is to poison my relationships with others in the organization and kill any current organizational effectiveness.

Advice from a lake will help you to keep the organization fresh, full of life and productive. If you approach change with good intentions but violate this advice, you could end up with a “dead sea” organization.

In what other situations could you apply advice from a lake?

 

More on Advice from a Hawk

Today’s advice from a Hawk:
– Soar to New Heights
– Be a Keen Observer
– Swoop Down on Opportunities
– Rise Above it All
– Spread Your Wings
– Find a Field that Suits You
– The Sky’s the Limit!
-Ilan Shamir-

This morning I am trying to focus on the future. Looking at my personal and business goals for next year and goals for several organizations I am in. It can get overwhelming and I find myself going in circles. Looking at the advice from Ms. Hawk, I realize I need to Rise Above it All, Spread My Wings and look at things with a fresh perspective. Then I can better determine where I want to be next year and what I need to do differently to get there. When you take some time to Rise Above it All, you really do realize that The Sky’s the Limit! When was the last time that you went to a place where you could get a fresh perspective on things?

Advice from a Hawk

Today’s advice from a Hawk:
– Soar to New Heights
– Be a Keen Observer
– Swoop Down on Opportunities
– Rise Above it All
– Spread Your Wings
– Find a Field that Suits You
– The Sky’s the Limit!
-Ilan Shamir-

Wow, so much good stuff from Ms. Hawk today. Where do I begin? This morning I feel like focusing on “Being a Keen Observer.” I struggle with this daily. I need to remember to sit back, observe things and people around me and LISTEN! If you are observing, you aren’t talking. When you listen, you learn. When you listen, you let others know that you are interested in them. When you listen, you find out how you can help others and add value to them. When you observe, you spur on your curiosity and learn even more. So, today I am going to observe and listen more. How about you?