Coaching and mentoring are popular development initiatives used in a variety of organisations the world over and commonly linked with leadership development, but why do coaching and mentoring skills make you a better leader? The answer is simple – they draw on some key skills.
At the heart of coaching and mentoring are: active listening, effective questioning and giving and receiving feedback. By using these skills you will help people learn about themselves and empower them to responsibility for their own learning and development.
Ever heard of this quote “we have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak.” - Epictetus (AD 55 – c.135). What a great quote this is and it’s as true then as it is today. How much better off would we be if we listened more, were more attentive in our listening and gave people the time and space to think? With our busy lives and relentless daily time pressures, we are less inclined to listen more than we speak so it’s a skill that needs constant practice and development.
How many times do we hear employees say that they don’t feel listened too, that they don’t get enough 1-2-1 time with their manager or that they don’t feel challenged enough? Listening is one of the most underrated tools a leader has in his or her toolkit.
“The wise man doesn’t give the right answers, he poses the right questions” – Claude Levis-Strauss Being able to ask effective questions is a skill – anyone can ask questions but being more aware of the types of questions you ask on a daily basis with your team, your manager, customers and clients is a good place to start. Great questions enable people to think, explore options, unlock ideas and take responsibility. It’s all too easy to provide the answers and if we do this all the time, people don’t learn, they just do.
Feedback – the organisational elephant in the room, but an essential leadership skill. How would we learn and know what we need to develop if we didn’t have feedback? Furthermore how can we expect others to learn and develop if we don’t give them feedback? Think of feedback as a catalyst to help people be a better “them”. Done in the right way, people respect feedback that’s given to them – even negative feedback.
The one thing that each of these coaching and mentoring skills have in common is learning – learning enables us to become a better leader.
Being a leader is tough, multifaceted and complex, there are new leadership theories and models emerging all the time and countless business schools offering leadership development programmes, but developing your ability to listen, ask effective questions and give and receive feedback skills will help you be a better leader.
We are coaching experts who have been developing these skills in business for almost 20 years. We know what challenges leaders face in today’s workplace, so we have designed a short burst qualification specifically to help you solve these challenges.
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