Coaching for leaders

We are convinced that the performance of your leaders and of your teams becomes possible when it is upheld by:

  • An appropriate organization,
  • A powerful vision and strategy,
  • Competent men and women, who know how to care for their development, their leadership, their teams, and the interactions that structure their system.

The leader plays a key role. The success of his or her organization and of the people that make it up depends on his or her own success. His or her failures have important repercussions on his or her collaborators, his or her organization, and its stakeholders.

Coaching for leaders allows the leader to take step back from and consider the issues linked to his or her role or to a critical transition, to reinforce his or her influence in the ecosystem and to increase his or her transformational impact.

For the leader client, the essential is to deploy all of his or her potential and to avoid obstacles on the way. He or she is powerful and has already shown it, the target is to go further still. As such, he or she needs a coach who is not a limiting factor who harbors a specific position.

Supervision de coach

Coaching is typically used to achieve one of the following purposes:

  • Skill development: Coaching to acquire, or improve upon, specific skills and abilities
  • Performance Improvement: Coaching to enhance performance in the current role
  • Career Development: Coaching to prepare for a future role
  • Executive’s Agenda: Coaching to help senior managers define their own notion of personal success and corporate performance

The practical modes of coaching for leaders are the same as those for coaching individuals.

The specificities of the position of coaching for leaders

What characterizes above all the one who makes it to the top is a heightened sense of humanity. Often, the leader has had to accept moving away from technical competence and familiarity with a specific field of activity to perfect this new aptitude, that of leading, which involves a strong orientation towards the human relationship. Choosing the right people, finding with these people the right mode of work, these are the fundamentals of being a leader. Additionally, the leader must give up the pleasure of immediate action in favor of a more reflexive attitude that is oriented towards a long-term vision that takes into account the complexity of the organization in relation to that of the environment.

Furthermore, given the internationalization of industrial operations, the leader is naturally put in contact with other cultures, sometimes to the point of being profoundly acculturated.

Finally, we must take into account the fact that the leader does not merely represent him or herself but also the entity he or she leads. His or her subordinates serve him or her but also this entity whose objectives, culture, and faults he or she embodies.

Faced with such a level of competence, such success, and such responsibilities, the coach is exposed to several dangers:

  • He or she can experience difficulties entering into the logic of his client. As such, for the leader, it is imperative to be able to sacrifice a part to save the whole. Laying off and putting aside are thus part of necessary duties, which can collide with the values of the coach.
  • Supervisions clearly show that the power of the leader can provoke envy in the coach. This very typical counter-transferential reaction is less noticeable in coaches who have themselves been leaders.
  • Power used in an abusive manner, whether in reality or in appearance, may also provoke rebellion in the coach, or a reaction of rejection. Shared experience allows for a better understanding of the constraints of the position and for distinguishing sound decisions.
  • Occasionally, the power of the leader provokes excessive admiration or submission in the coach who is unable to work through means other than seduction, or even flattery.
  • Finally, the coach, whose specialty is the individual, may feel overwhelmed by the intuitive and profound human understanding of his or her client. The knowledge, techniques, and tools of the coach may in this way be set against a competence acquired through experience. Some coaches feel in competition with the client in this respect.

As can be seen, the question of the experience of power for the coach of the leader is fundamental. Failing this, the coach risks being outside the world of experience of the leader, but, stronger from this experience, he or she must be clear with regards to what this power represents: is he or she liberated from the joy or enslavement of power, or is he or she living in regret?

Source: Michel MORAL, Les outils du coach (The Tools of the Coach)

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