When you hear
the word “coach”, what comes first into your mind? Do you
picture a basketball team with a man/woman shouting out
directions? Or perhaps a football team with a man/woman pacing to
and fro and calling out the names of the players?
Coaching is no longer reserved to sports teams; it is now
one of the key concepts in leadership and management. Why is
Coaching levels the playing field.
Coaching is one of the six emotional leadership styles
proposed by Daniel Goleman.
Moreover, it is a
behavior or role that leaders enforce in the context of
situational leadership. As a leadership style, coaching is used
when the members of a group or team are competent and motivated,
but do not have an idea of the long-term goals of an organization.
This involves two levels of coaching: team and individual. Team
coaching makes members work together. In a group of individuals,
not everyone may have nor share the same
level of competence and commitment to a goal. A group may be a
mix of highly competent and moderately competent members with
varying levels of commitment. These differences can cause
friction among the members. The coaching leader helps the
members level their expectations. Also, the coaching leader
manages differing perspectives so that the common goal
succeeds over personal goals and interests. In a big
organization, leaders need to align the staffs’ personal
values and goals with that of the organization so that
long-term directions can be pursued.
Coaching builds up confidence and competence.
is an example of situational leadership at work. It aims to mentor
one-on-one building up the confidence of members by affirming good
performance during regular feedbacks; and increase competence by
helping the member assess his/her strengths and weaknesses towards
career planning and professional development. Depending on the
individual’s level of competence and commitment, a leader may
exercise more coaching behavior for the less-experienced members.
Usually, this happens in the case of new staffs. The direct
supervisor gives more defined tasks and holds regular feedbacks
for the new staff, and gradually lessens the amount of coaching,
directing, and supporting roles to favor delegating as competence
and confidence increase.
Coaching promotes individual and team excellence.
Excellence is a product of habitual good practice. The regularity
of meetings and constructive feedback is important in establishing
habits. Members catch the habit of constantly assessing themselves
for their strengths and areas for improvement that they themselves
perceive what knowledge, skills, and attitudes they need to
acquire to attain team goals. In the process, they
attain individually excellence
as well. An example is in the
case of a musical orchestra:
each member plays a different
instrument. In order to achieve
harmony of music from the
different instrument, members
will polish their part in the
piece, aside from practicing as
an ensemble. Consequently, they
improve individually as an
Coaching develops high commitment to common goals.
A coaching leader balances the attainment of immediate targets
with long-term goals towards the vision of an organization. As
mentioned earlier, with the alignment of personal goals with
organizational or team goals, personal interests are kept in
check. By constantly communicating the vision through formal and
informal conversations, the members are inspired and motivated.
Setting short-term team goals aligned with organizational goals;
and making an action plan to attain these goals can help sustain
the increased motivation and commitment to common goals of the members.
produces valuable leaders.
Leadership by example is important in coaching. A coaching
leader loses credibility when he/she cannot practice what
he/she preaches. This means that a coaching leader should be
well organized, highly competent is his/her field,
communicates openly and encourages feedback, and has a clear
idea of the organization’s vision-mission-goals.
and purposive learning, members catch the same good practices
and attitudes from the coaching leader, turning them into
coaching leaders themselves. If a member experiences good
coaching, he/she is most likely to do the same things when
entrusted with formal
Some words of caution:
Coaching is just one of
the styles of leadership. It can be done in combination with
the other five emotional leadership styles depending on the
profile of the emerging team. Moreover, coaching as a
leadership style requires that you are physically,
emotionally, and mentally fit most of the time since it
involves two levels of coaching: individual and team.
members expect you to be the last one to give up or bail out
in any situation especially during times of crises. A coaching
leader must be conscious that coaching entails investing time
on each individual, and on the whole team. Moreover, that the
responsibilities are greater since while you are coaching
members, you are also developing future coaches as well.