A coach’s job is to maximize their clients’ potential and guide them to their goals — that’s why the best coaches are also great leaders.
No one’s born a great leader. Lucky for us, we can learn, develop, and hone leadership skills. But what are those skills, and how do you apply them? Let’s explore six leadership best practices to implement at your coaching businesses to help you meet those goals.
What does it take to be a good leader?
While many ingredients make for a good leader, all strong leaders have overlapping basic traits:
- Good intentions. A leader should want to achieve something positive in their role. In our case, it’s helping clients improve their lives and running a successful business.
- A desire to learn. No one likes a boss who doesn’t listen to their ideas. Being good leaders means considering others’ perspectives and constantly improving ourselves to be even better at the helm.
- Patience. Leadership can be trying and draining. Keeping a level head allows us to steer the ship even in rough waters and maintain good relationships with our team.
4 essential skills a leader should have
Foundational leadership skills aren’t optional. These include:
- Communication: Good communication skills are a cornerstone of effective leadership. Leaders in our industry must manage communications with a number of parties, including clients, stakeholders, and employees. From emails to phone calls and face-to-face meetings, excellent communication inspires trust between the parties involved, improving our professional relationships.
- Influence: Becoming a leader means gaining influence — and that must be earned. When we have the trust and respect of our peers, they’re more likely to listen to us. Emotional intelligence plays a significant role here: we must be in tune with the wants and needs of our team. We can achieve this by improving our active listening and building rapport with staff.
- Strategic thinking: In basic terms, strategic thinking involves having a clear picture of our business goals and executing a plan to achieve them. It’s helpful to see the big picture and drill down the details while understanding how the two sides of the coin fit together. An important aspect of successful strategic thinking is gathering and analyzing data to know what’s working, what isn’t, and what more we have left to do.
- Management: Leaders must know how to motivate and encourage employees towards professional success. Good managers understand how to delegate projects and responsibilities according to individual competencies and skill sets. Additionally, leaders should build an effective team — which includes recruiting new members, running smooth onboarding processes, and implementing team-building initiatives to strengthen company bonds.
6 leadership best practices
When we’re developing our leadership skills, we should prioritize:
- Leveraging passion: Passion doesn’t only serve as a great motivator for ourselves — it’s infectious. When our clients and employees see our dedication to running a successful and meaningful business, they’re more likely to trust we want what’s best for them. We should be open about how our purpose drives us and let that passion inspire others.
- Asking the right questions: Checking up on our employees' and clients’ progress is most effective if we get to the heart of their experience. Instead of general questions that only skim the surface, we need to understand the specifics of a problem, project, or goal. Here are some questions to ask:
- What does success look like to you?
- Where do you feel the problem stems from?
- What can I do to better support you?
- Focusing on results: It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of work. When we feel like we’re not making any progress, it’s time to step back and evaluate the situation. Are we focusing on results, or are we getting bogged down in completing tasks with little impact?
We should strive to quantify our progress with metrics and milestones rather than just ticking items off our to-do list. It’s helpful to slow down and look at the big picture every once in a while to ensure we’re still on track to accomplish our goals.
- Equipping the team: While encouragement and positivity play a crucial part in working towards a collective goal, we must also give our clients and employees the tools and support they need to succeed. Teach your team what you can and don’t be shy to bring in experts to do the rest. Seminars and trainings are a worthwhile investment.
- Modeling the way: While we’re not charging our team into battle, we’re still guiding them in the workplace. When our team members or clients feel hesitant or nervous about taking the first step, we can tell them what we’d do or have done in their position. By building confidence in our team and relating to them, we build momentum for bigger projects down the line.
- Celebrating wins: An important feedback mechanism is celebrating wins. When a client or team member does something right, reward them with praise. Not only does this boost team morale, but it also improves your relationship with them.
As leaders, we must remember we’re working with people who have unique strengths, weaknesses, and needs. Even though we have a big-picture view of whether or not the team is successful, we can't neglect our individual staff’s journeys. And they deserve to be praised when they excel.
Start improving your leadership today
All of this may sound a little daunting, but trust us: all it takes is practice. Start implementing your new skills and you’ll be well on your way to becoming an even better boss and mentor.
At Practice, we understand that trust is built on great communication. Elevate your coaching business with our all-in-one client management system and streamline your customer interactions with our help.