Coaching in organisations has become increasingly popular over the past 20 years as workplaces become less hierarchical and organisations seek a more sophisticated approach to leadership. The more recent shift linked to the pandemic has sped-up changes already on the horizon.
Leaders are feeling an increasing sense of pressure and responsibility, alongside a collective shift towards a more balanced life. The two positions are difficult to reconcile leading to more pressure on the leadership as employees demand more empathy and flexibility, alongside added pressures on organisations linked to global uncertainty, supply chain issues and political instability.
We are living in times where things are constantly shifting and adapting quickly is a must. We want better relationships and a better work-life balance. Technology is connecting and isolating us at the same time – online meetings demonstrates this paradox well. Those in positions of leadership require an ever more empathic and sophisticated approach to their role, alongside being one-step ahead in an already fast-moving world.
The Role of Leadership Coaching
The role of Leadership Coaching is to be alongside leaders through these challenging times. An exploration of the challenges and opportunities within a person’s role requires more than a behavioural and goal-oriented approach. A more psychological approach to leadership coaching requires a coach who can think ‘outside the box’ and work with what lies beneath the surface. This entails understanding what motivates and drives the client, the demands of the organisation, the story behind the client’s career choices or trajectory, their resources and pitfalls.
An exploration of the story behind an individual’s career choice and understanding of their relationships at work speaks volumes. This exercise can be very interesting for both coach and coachee and lead further understanding some of the issues at hand. Given that success is linked to relationships – to self, others and the organisation – exploring these is an essential aspect of leadership coaching.
Finally, it is vital for leaders to have a place to discuss their anxieties, worries, and fears. Leaders must learn to know their vulnerabilities, and not deny or bury them. Facing and understanding these emotions is what leads to change. It is also through exploration that these anxieties and fears begin to lessen, and the client can start to focus their energies on more creative pursuits rather than constantly firefighting.
With space for reflection, a better understanding of one own emotions and relationships, and energies freed up for more important tasks and creativity, work starts to become more enjoyable. With better self-awareness leaders can enjoy their role and stand in uncertainty with more confidence.
Sam Jahara is a UKCP Registered Psychotherapist and Tavistock Certified Coach. She coaches individuals and groups in organisations as well as those who are self-employed or run their own business.
Further reading by Sam Jahara
Why all therapists and mental health professionals need therapy now more than ever
Fear and hope in the time of Covid – part 2
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