With a general election being held in the UK and a leadership contest for the main opposition party coming to a head in South Africa in the past few days, it seems quite appropriate that leadership should be the theme of this week’s post.
All of us are affected by the ability or inability of people to lead, whether it be in a political, organisational, community or other such capacity.
And yet far too few of those who take – or are called on to take – a leadership role, really understand or appreciate the impact that their decisions, actions and behaviours have on those that they lead.
A common aim
You might be wondering how relevant the subject of leadership is in a Blog titled Life Coaching Insights?
In my opinion hugely so.
After all, leaders and life coaches share – or should share – a common objective, namely to inspire people to be the best they can be.
But whereas life coaches are trained to do everything in their power to get their clients to act on and take responsibility for their own empowerment, too many leaders see it as their right to take control over the destinies of those who they lead.
Leaders in the political and corporate domains learn that with leadership comes the power to influence others but what they often do not learn is how to use that power in the best interests of those who they lead.
Power that is used to manipulate others or that is used to promote one’s self interests above those of others is not authentic power but rather a form of ‘force’.
Authentic and inauthentic power
Authentic power, in the context of leadership, is derived from those who are led. Their continued empowerment feeds that power and extends the ‘license to lead’.
Inauthentic power, or force, is derived from the leader’s ego and desire to remain in control, regardless of the interests of those who are being led.
Measuring leadership effectiveness
True leaders know that the effectiveness of their leadership is measured by the degree to which they are able to promote and improve the success of their people. Indeed, their own happiness and fulfilment is dependent on their ability to achieve this.
Leaders who employ force, measure their effectiveness primarily by how long they can remain in a position of power and how well they repel any attempts to weaken or unseat them. Their source of ‘fulfilment’, though misguided, comes from the influence they wield, along with the material trappings that accompany their position.
Leadership should not be seen as a right for those who have spent years pursuing it. It should be considered as a privilege that comes with great responsibility.
Leaders and life coaches share a lot of other common ground. Let’s explore that.
Good life coaches will rely on four essential pillars or building blocks in their training and development:
– Awareness of self
These are equally important in the development of any quality leader.
When it comes to skills required by a good life coach, good communication, particularly the ability to build rapport with their clients in order to understand what makes them tick, is of paramount importance.
Likewise, the ability to communicate clearly and show empathy and understanding for their people, is a skill that goes to the heart of good leadership.
Finally, the ability to ‘wear the shoes’ of the client, understanding, appreciating and working with the unique talents that each person possesses, is perhaps the most important skill that a life coach can bring to his or her role.
But this skill is more than just important to a leader.
Appreciating the strength that comes from diversity and helping each individual in a team to shine using their unique capability in a way that contributes most effectively to the group, is what differentiates great leaders from the rest.
So, all you leaders out there … ever thought of training to become life coaches?
Article originally written by Bill Burridge