Published in Issue 14  (July, 2016) of International Coaching News magazine

It is not leadership from any one person that is required; it is an aspect of leadership each of us summons from within.  In this respect, the same qualities we have sought in one person can be found distributed among many people who learn, in community, to exercise their “leadership” at appropriate moments.  This occurs when people are vitally concerned about issues or when executing their responsibilities.  Leadership thus becomes a rather fluid concept focusing on those behaviours which propel the work of the team forward.  John Nirenberg (1993) in the Framework research, undertaken by Michigan State University Extension in 1994.

What this means is that they have determined that leadership has moved from being individual-centred to being more collective-centred which moves from a packaged curriculum to an evolving, customised education process focused on building relationships.

The task force involved in this research concluded that the definition of 21st century leadership is holistic.  Leadership is centred on teams rather than individuals, and that leadership engages each member of the team in heart, mind, spirit, and energy.  They explain that the driving force of this definition is that (1) community, which is the heart of the team’s leadership, (2) vision, which engages the spirit, (3) learning, which stimulates the mind, and (4) action, which compels the energy.

This is fabulous news for all coaches as this gives coaching the opportunity it needs to get involved in the development of individual members of the leadership team, or with the team as a whole.

downloadingAs someone who is a Professional or Accredited Coach with the IIC&M you will have the ideal qualifications to approach organisations.  This task force defined seven action values:

  1. Visioning Together.
  2. Leading Together.
  3. Learning Together.
  4. Building Community.
  5. Developing Energy.
  6. Acting Together.
  7. Communicating.

Organisations often feel that a member staff has the leadership qualities or values, without appreciating that each person may have these qualities or values, may not have these qualities of values, or may have only a specific range of them.  Coaches have the ability to instil the confidence in each person who has a position in the organisations leadership team, from the most senior to the team leaders, to a point where that individual exceeds their own expectations.

It is important that each individual in the team learns how to contribute to the team at a level where they find a way to share every thought they have in a positive and motivating manner.  It is important that each person understands their role and takes ownership and accountability of their responsibilities, involvement, and actions.

Developing one shared vision that is future-focused is key to the success of this team.  Often this vision is not theirs but is one that is given to them by the Board of Directors or management of the organisation.  Helping the individual or team develop the vision engages the spirit; which in turn gives meaning and purpose to the team’s efforts.  Developing one share vision allows each member of the team to rise above their own self-importance, to a point where each person retains their own motivation to succeed.  A shared vision gives the whole team and each individual a defined boundary for action.

Leading together, means that each member of the team takes responsibility for the teams actions and successes.  Learning together gives each individual not only the opportunity to personally grow and develop but also to support the growth and development of each member of the team.  This growth and development comes from each individual bringing their own knowledge and experience, gaining knowledge and experience as the team moves through each action, to the support provided by coaches.  The outline of the learning cycle, whether you are working as a member of a team or on your own, comes from the initial planning, taking action, and then reflecting.  In some ways the growth will come from the reflection when you look at (1) what went right, (2) what didn’t go the way it was expected to, and (3) based on the results, in the future, what would you do differently.

At the heart of a strong and successful leadership team is a caring community.  The relationship of this team builds a strong and trusting relationship, which is built through developing the vision, learning, learning, and taking action as a single unit together.  A sense of community comes from having a positive and understanding process for examining and mediating conflict; a communication platform in which trust is built, which is reflected in the feelings of a single team identity, action, and commitment.

A strong leadership team will always appreciate the diversity in the role, and the individuals they are working with.

Developing a vision; strategizing; working through defining the steps; agreeing who will take which action’ communicating issues, concerns, and successes; working through the reasons for ‘failure’; understanding the personal and professional growth and development; together as a single team demonstrates that this team is successful and acting together as a single community. 

leadershipAs each coach knows, communication is the centre to success.  Communication is about listening to understand; being open-minded; discovering common ground amidst diversity; sharing and collecting information; exchanging views; networking to benefit the team vision; and accepting that not everyone has the same view of the world as you do.  Each person in this team has their own communication strategy and this is one area that a coach can really provide support.  Asking questions to clarify what one person has said when it is apparent that someone else has not understood.  Asking questions to understand terminology.  Asking questions to support the conversation.  Really, just by asking questions! 

Successful communication builds trust and openness within the team.  In turn, this builds the opportunity for success.

Something I often work with – energy.  Without realising it every person gives out a level of energy and their level of energy has an impact on those around them.  When a team are working together, the negative energy of one person can have a huge impact on the whole team.  It is important that each member of the team becomes aware of their own energy as well as of that in the individuals around them.  It is important to recognise that positive energy promotes the vision, the learning, the planning, the action options, the action decisions, the specific actions, to the successful achievement of the vision.

As a coach, this is your opportunity to understand that you can make a difference to organisations by using your coaching skills.  You do not need to understand the organisation or the industry in which the organisation is based.  It is important that you recognise that your skills can help each member of the team, as well as the team as a whole.  Take time to understand the changes and understand what you can do to promote yourself in this coaching environment.

Coaching in an organisation for the coach and each member of the organisation
is a journey of self-discovery and achievement!
© Barbara J. Cormack

© 2016 Barbara J. Cormack.  All Rights Reserved.