Coaching Styles, Part 6 – Which Style Is Best?

A few weeks ago, I began a series focusing on the four different coaching styles; the Visionary, the Director, the Mentor, and the Cheerleader. If you’ve been following along you probably have a pretty good idea of your dominant style. So here’s a question for you? Which style makes the best coach?

Some may say it’s the Visionary due to their ability to paint a vision of the future and inspire people to take action.

Some might choose the Director for their tendency to recognize the strengths in others, assign job tasks appropriately and hold people accountable.

Others might vote for the Mentor. Teaching a skill is very empowering and a critical component of employee growth.

Or perhaps your vote is for the Cheerleader. After all, no one wants to work without recognition for their efforts and a little motivation goes a long way.

The answer, as you might have guessed, is that there is no one style that rises above the rest. Each style of coaching has its place and an effective coach has the ability to switch styles as needed. You see, it really doesn’t matter which style you prefer or are best suited for. The secret to being an effective coach is understanding which style your employee needs at any given time.

The best coaches know that the employee is the focus, not them. They view coaching as a service rather than a job or an item on their to-do list. Great coaches don’t see coaching as something they do to their employees. They see it as something they do for their employees.

Think about the purpose of coaching. The goal isn’t self-improvement; it’s the betterment of your employees. Sure, you benefit in a variety of ways, but the real goal of coaching is to help someone else grow. When you look at coaching as a service rather than a job, it changes your approach to it. To really be effective at coaching, you have to have a true desire to help the employee.

I’m speaking from experience here. Once I changed my view of coaching, it changed my approach to it as well.
– Instead of focusing on what I need to get off of my plate, I focus on what the members of my team need to grow.
– Instead of telling them what I think they need to do in order to accomplish a task, I ask them what they need in order to excel.
– Instead of viewing them as employees, I value them as partners.
– Instead of talking at them, I collaborate with them.

This approach has provided much deeper and more meaningful relationships with the people who report to me. As the relationships evolve, I get to know what makes them tick. I get to know their strengths and their weakness, I learn about their dreams and their fears. And I come to understand what they need from me. As a result, I’m able to adjust my coaching style to provide the right kind of leadership for each person as the situation dictates.

This makes coaching so much easier than it used to be. I’m no longer frustrated by employees who just don’t seem to understand the big picture. I don’t pull my hair out over work that’s not getting done. I don’t have to spend a lot of time coaching any more. It just seems to come naturally.

Here’s the best part – as I’ve learned to provide the kind of leadership my team needs, when they need it – they’ve responded by rising to the challenge. They go beyond what’s asked of them in order to help me out. They know I’m doing everything in my power to hold them up, so they work extra hard in order to not let me down.

Think about your dominant coaching style. Do you coach everyone the same way, under every circumstance?

Do your employees see you as a member of the team, or just “the boss?”

What changes do you need to make to your coaching style in order to get better results?

I hope you’ll consider these questions as you anticipate your next encounter with your team. Good luck coach.

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