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The Leader as a Coach

Updated: Jul 12

Ale Marroquin

When I was young and had trouble finding an answer at school, I remember approaching my dad expecting him to provide a solution. To my surprise, he always said: "Go to the encyclopedia on the bookshelf and look in the volume corresponding to the topic. You'll probably find it there."

Inside, I thought I could have done that myself without needing to ask my dad. Today, I'm grateful because it empowered me to find solutions and prevented me from wasting valuable time waiting for someone else to solve it. Perhaps you're wondering what empowerment means. This term is frequently used nowadays, and in my opinion, it's sometimes misunderstood because I don't believe it's simply about giving power to people.

As I see it, empowerment is acknowledging that someone has what it takes to achieve their goals with their own resources or with support from others, but with the independence and confidence that they can succeed.

Many bosses want control over the expected outcome. Let me give you an example: Imagine you're the boss of a team, you've been able to solve problems over time and have gained some experience. You hire a new person, and they have to execute a project. When they come to you with a question, you lose patience because you start to doubt whether they can do it correctly. You decide to take control, thinking it's better to solve it yourself quickly than to waste time explaining how.

I remember in the financial sector, I had a colleague who, when submitting reports to his boss, used to say, "It doesn't matter if I do it quickly without deep analysis; my boss will correct it anyway and add his own content."

Woman with book

When bosses take control of procedures or potential solutions, all they achieve is making others lazy. A suggestion to promote exponential leadership is to do coaching. This happens when you truly believe your team can achieve higher productivity. What does this provoke? It makes your team reach a level where they have confidence that you genuinely believe they can do it. And this confidence generates mutual respect and rapport between you and them.

Leadership coaching is achieved through asking intelligent questions and depends on the scenario. In situational leadership, you choose what kind of management you should have with your teams. Maybe when you hire someone, you need to be an instructor of procedures and processes so they understand how things work. However, as time passes and you see someone struggling with something, you can influence them to overcome those challenges through coaching.

Coaching is complicated when you don't master the technique because there's always the temptation to give the solution before the person figures it out. That's why it's necessary to master the basic techniques or seek support from a certified coach, especially when it's a topic that requires more time to overcome or work on.

Some of the different types of coaching or scenarios that may require this support are:

- Related to their goals

- To clarify situations

- To understand if they're ready to progress

- To discover the challenges or obstacles holding them back

- Establishing action strategies

- To empower them when they start doubting their ability

- To make them accountable for their actions

- Setting action dates and commitments

- Finding perspectives

- To work on their strengths internally

Try to put on your coaching hat occasionally with your teams and avoid giving them instructions or solutions. Let them stretch their potential by arriving at the answers themselves. Being a leader who coaches brings many satisfactions when you can see how your teams become empowered and solutions are found more quickly. Let me know how it goes.

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