“The scarcest resource in the world today,” noted Noel Tichy in his book, The Leadership Engine; How Winning Companies Build Leaders at Every Level, HarperBusiness, 1997, “is leadership talent capable of continuously transforming organizations to win in tomorrow’s world.” Recognizing that at the end of the day, we need better leaders and better people, not just better strategies, Tichy points out that leaders with a proven track record of success take direct responsibility for the development of other leaders. One part of this process will involve a significant amount of time spent coaching.
As one who does this regularly, I think we need to help those who participate in coaching to understanding that coaching happens through you, not to you. Too many times, people treat the act of coaching as something they do to people and do not recognize that coaching is a process of mutual collaboration and structured dialogue.
Next, the best leaders during this structured dialogue routinely explore the subject of purpose and strategy. However, those who coach well know we may not always be able as coaches to solve a certain problem. Nevertheless we can emphasize the choices one can make.
Finally, the best leaders who coach people know that this process involves questions, analysis, action planning and follow through. Too often, people think that coaching is only about asking questions. While this is important, we need to recognize that the best leaders also help people analyze what is going on and then help them build a plan of action based on this analysis. Finally, the best always follow-up.
The scarcest resource in the world is transformational leadership. In the journey from today to the future, we need to realize that personal coaching in combination with team development, education about organizational transformation, and the development of effective strategy are all interconnected. And when leaders take responsibility and build the future, these interconnections are strengthened, motivational, and dynamic.