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Business leaders carry a lot on their shoulders. Being a leader is a challenge and, at the same time, an exciting journey. Leadership coaches can help people in leadership roles make this journey a little bit more exciting and a little less overwhelming.
Whether you are an experienced, certified leadership coach who would like to take their coach training business online or an aspiring coach considering teaching leadership skills but doesn’t know where to start, you’re in the right place.
This post covers everything you ever wanted to know about leadership coaching: coaching styles to use for effective leadership training, the most common leadership styles to explore with your client during their professional learning, and essential topics to cover.
We’ll also show you how to create your own online leadership coaching academy from start to finish!
First, let’s clarify what leadership coaching is and answer one burning question: can leadership skills be taught?
Table of contents
- 1What is a Leadership Coach?
- 2Can a Person be Taught How to be a Leader?
- 3How to Train a Team Leader: The 7 Best Coaching Models for the Job
- 4What Type of Leader Will You Shape? 9 Popular Leadership Styles
- 59 Essential Leadership Coaching Topics to Cover
- 6Creating Your Leadership Coaching Program: 101
What is a Leadership Coach?
A leadership coach is a type of coach that helps leaders develop skills and personality traits they should possess and also an authentic leadership style.
Leadership is very different from business coaching, executive coaching or women leadership coaching. These two types of coaching focus mainly on the practical aspects of running a business or a team.
Leadership coaching is more about cultivating soft coaching skills and emotional intelligence so that the leader can handle complex business relationships and lead with confidence, compassion, and ethics.
Any employee can benefit from leadership coaching, though, as it boosts professional development skills like communication and resilience and helps build self-awareness and confidence – all of which are essential for a functional workplace.
Can a Person be Taught How to be a Leader?
People who showed student achievement and school leadership during high school usually pursue leadership roles in their adult lives as well.
During schooling, children who show leadership personality traits, are usually prompted by school leaders and teacher leaders to apply for leadership positions in their communities, state-level government work, or managerial roles in businesses.
There is no denying it, the role of a leader is daunting. Among other things, leaders need to balance sensitive relationships with stakeholders and employees. They also need to be the type of person people respect and admire rather than blindly obey because they have to. Add to that excellent strategic thinking and ability to weather any storm and adapt to change.
So no, not everyone is built for leadership. But if they possess some strong qualities to work with, a leadership coach can help them reinforce and use their strengths to their advantage and build the skills they lack.
How to Train a Team Leader: The 7 Best Coaching Models for the Job
The coaching process is long, and coaching relationships need their rules too. So how about adding some structure to your sessions and increasing accountability? This way, the client will know from the start how your collaboration will go, and they’ll achieve their goals faster.
There are several models you can follow for more effective coaching! We’ll do a quick recap here, but read our dedicated blog post on 6 popular coaching models if you want to find out more details.
GROW stands for Goals-Reality-Obstacles-Way forward. It’s the most popular coaching model with a straightforward, uncomplicated structure. Coaching with GROW includes four steps:
CLEAR stands for Contract-Listen-Explore-Action-Review. CLEAR focuses on long-term goals and aims to transpire more extensive changes than other coaching models. This makes it a perfect match for teaching leadership.
Here’s how the CLEAR model works:
STEPPPA stands for Subject-Target-Emotion-Perception-Plan-PaceAction/Adapt. This model starts by identifying the overall scope of the coaching before creating specific goals. The coach encourages the client to discuss their emotions and view their goal. Next, you need to create an easy-to-follow plan broken down into milestones. Before settling on a final plan, review and adapt.
OSCAR stands for Outcome-Situation-Choices-Action-Review. OSCAR is a solution-oriented model which works like this:
OSKAR is similar to OSCAR because both models focus on the goal and don’t analyze the current situation too deeply. It stands for Outcome-Scaling-Know-how-Affirm Action-Review. This model is particularly interesting because it prompts the client to think about how close they are to their goal and how far they can ever go – because not every goal is 100% attainable.
CIGAR takes a slightly different approach from other models as it emphasizes reality vs. possibility to help the client draw motivation. It stands for Current reality-Ideal-Gaps-Action-Review. CIGAR encourages the client to:
7Action-Centered Leadership (ACL)
Action-centered leadership is a three-circle model that focuses on three key areas where a leader or manager needs to excel:
Task achievement: A leader should help their teams perform their tasks more effectively through efficient goal setting, prioritization, and resource allocation.
Team building: It’s essential to build solid and unified teams that collaborate smoothly and manage conflict effectively.
Professional development: A leader should help each team member develop their skills and advance their careers.
What Type of Leader Will You Shape? 9 Popular Leadership Styles
There are several leadership styles to explore with your client. You can borrow elements that match your client’s personality to use as an inspiration to help your client develop their unique leadership style.
You’ll see for yourself that not all of these leadership styles are the recipe for an ideal workplace. Still, it’s worth discussing them with your client to pinpoint mistakes to avoid.
Laissez-Faire (Hands-Off) Leadership Style
This type of leadership heavily relies on excellent delegation skills. A hands-off leadership style means that the leader assigns roles and responsibilities to their teams. This leadership style boosts confidence, promotes creativity, and allows employees to explore their abilities and take initiative. Following this style is a way leaders can help all team members develop leadership skills and cultivate accountability and decision-making.
A laissez-faire leadership style suits a leader who doesn’t like micromanaging and prefers to focus on the larger scheme of things. At the same time, they know how to provide their teams with the tools they need to function effectively and can step in and take quick action when things go off track.
Democratic (Participative) Leadership
A democratic leader values everyone’s opinion and allows all team members to participate in decision-making. This free flow of ideas and opinions promotes innovation and an inclusive workplace where everyone feels heard and valued.
Although organizing large-scale or multiple discussions is time-consuming and creates a lot of noise, this type of leadership links to higher employee satisfaction, morale, and productivity. If your client is a team player and flexible and has strong people skills, this type of leadership might be a good fit.
Transformational leaders have the skill to inspire their teams to get on board the company mission and spark enthusiasm. They care for each team member and offer them resources to succeed.
Teams led by transformational leaders are energized, optimistic, and bonded. This leadership style suits charismatic speakers and supports individuals with a high sense of purpose and loyalty committed to delivering the company vision.
A visionary leader is an enthusiastic and passionate leader that has innovative ideas and not only embraces but actively seeks change. With their energy and enthusiasm, they inspire their teams and boost creativity. If your client is a highly energetic person with out-of-the-box thinking, high perception, strategic thinking skills, and a passion for change, a visionary leader stands in front of you!
A leader that follows a coaching leadership style is like a mentor: they create deep relationships with their team members, and through discussion, guidance, and proper delegation, they help them reach their full potential.
A coaching leader is patient, supportive, inspiring, and values learning. Needless to say, they have amazing coaching skills themselves. The only downside of this leadership style is that it requires significant time involvement, so it may not be the best choice for leaders with very large teams.
A transactional leader is strongly focused on short-term goals and follows a carrot-or-stick approach to motivate their teams to achieve their goals. This leadership style also includes mentoring or training to enable employees to reach their goals and improve their performance. It doesn’t, however, promote creativity.
The pacesetter leadership style is similar to transactional, as it’s about setting goals and reaching them fast. Pacesetting leadership works in fast-paced environments and is a good fit for competent, sharp individuals who work well under pressure. However, following this leadership style can quickly exhaust a team and lead to burnout.
Autocratic (Authoritarian) Leadership
The autocratic leader likes to make decisions independently or with the advice of a selected few. This style might suit heavily regulated industries, where employee creativity is not required, and there’s little room for initiatives anyway.
Other than that, it’s a rather strict and inflexible leadership style that doesn’t promote a positive workplace. This type of leadership fits clients with high confidence, critical thinking, and decision-making skills, who are also excellent communicators.
The bureaucratic leadership style resembles the autocratic in that leaders expect their employees to follow procedures and guidelines, suppressing creativity strictly.
This style, too, is more suitable for industries like healthcare, where following procedures matters the most. If your client bears a strong resemblance to Dwight Schrute, they’re born a bureaucratic leader.
9 Essential Leadership Coaching Topics to Cover
Leadership coaching is not about technical skills and textbook knowledge. It’s about building character traits and competencies.
Let’s see the topics that you shouldn’t miss from your leadership training program:
Communication is at the core of effective leadership. Can you imagine a leader that feels awkward speaking to large teams and sounds hesitant and sheepish? Or one that comes on too strong?
A leader should inspire trust and respect. They need to get things done by energizing their teams with their speech and not by intimidating them. And let’s not forget that leaders need to maintain good relationships with stakeholders, external collaborators, and clients. They also need to network. And as they do that, they represent the whole company.
Focus on teaching your client how to speak with confidence and use the right tone of voice for each situation. Body language also plays a massive part in how other people perceive you, so make sure to touch on non-verbal communication.
Leaders may have all the great ideas they want, but what good is it if they can’t get their teams on board? Being able to influence others is more than making people see your point – it’s making them change their views and even their way of thinking. And that’s a powerful trait that only the best leaders possess.
A leader who knows how to negotiate has better chances of achieving their strategic goals and closing beneficial business deals. Negotiation skills are also essential in every business relationship and workplace situation. A masterful negotiator can maintain peace in the workplace by effectively managing conflict and delegating correctly.
Negotiation skills are complicated. They require a combination of traits and skills, like confidence, assertiveness, active listening, and even emotional intelligence. To teach negotiation skills, you will need to do many role-playing exercises with your client to see how they handle the situation when things don’t go as expected.
Accountability should be a two-way street in every company. Leaders are often willing to hold their teams accountable, but they don’t show the same eagerness to take responsibility for their own decisions.
Lack of accountability is perceived as cowardice and dishonesty. It’s a lack of transparency, so naturally, it creates mistrust. Apart from setting a bad example for all teams, a leader who shies away from their share of responsibility is often resented.
Accountability can set a leader apart. To develop a sense of accountability in aspiring leaders, you can use the victim vs. player framework.
According to this, a person with a victim mindset attributes mishaps and failures to external, uncontrollable factors. Someone with a player mindset recognizes their role in shaping situations and takes responsibility for their part.
The victim vs. player framework helps aspiring leaders develop accountability, assertiveness, and a can-do attitude.
5Diversity and Inclusion
The workplace has changed dramatically over the past few years. One of the changes that have occurred is that leaders have now put diversity and inclusion high on their agenda. This is part of the shift towards a more positive workplace, where employees find more respect and understanding than they did before. Inclusivity is key to retention, as people tend to stay where they feel they belong and where they matter – and employees are no exception.
Creating a truly inclusive workplace is challenging, mainly because it’s not a one-person job. Leaders can lead the way to a more inclusive workplace by creating the right environment and offering relevant training to their employees. They also need to be open to hearing their employees’ needs regarding these issues and take action.
Emotional intelligence is a highly desired trait for everyone, let alone business leaders who have to interact with different teams and people and manage high-stake situations. Emotionally intelligent leaders bond with their teams, maintain the workplace’s balance and prevent friction. An emotionally intelligent leader is empathetic, but they also know how to set boundaries and objectively assess situations.
It’s not easy to cultivate these qualities in a person. Your client will need to do a lot of self-reflection, starting by observing how they feel and react to situations. Apart from a lot of work themselves, a life coach can also help a client struggling with emotional intelligence.
Change in the workplace is inevitable and even desirable, as it is often synonymous with progress. Ideally, leaders should keep their eyes open and be part of this change. Things out of their control will always happen, though. And when they do, they need to be agile and resourceful to help their teams to go through the transition smoother.
To handle change and challenging situations, leaders also need to be resilient. Building resilience and adaptability, both necessary to manage change, is a transformational journey that requires a massive shift in a person’s mentality. What you can do on your part is to guide your client toward positive thinking and stress management techniques to cope better.
Apart from keeping team morale high, leaders also move their teams forward by developing the right business strategy. This means they need to be observant and informed about their industry and the market. A leader with strong strategic thinking skills takes calculated decisions, can predict challenges, and has a plan B for any situation.
Having self-awareness will help your clients through every step of their journey. Self-aware leaders know their strengths and weaknesses and are better equipped to deal with challenges and criticism.
Creating Your Leadership Coaching Program: 101
Now that we’ve covered the theory, let’s move on to the part where you build your online coaching academy. This process consists of three steps:
Let’s see all this in detail.
Choose Your Coaching Platform
Think about how you want your online coaching academy to be. Next, look for a platform with the features you need to create your academy as you picture it.
Let us share a few ideas of what the ideal online coaching should allow you to do:
LearnWorlds is the course creation platform that offers all these features and many more! Design a fully branded online academy, host your online coaching sessions, and offer your clients all the resources they need to succeed, all in one place.
If you have the tools, you have no excuse! Using LearnWorlds, you can build an amazing leadership coaching program that includes the following:
Build Your Website
Your website is where you’ll introduce yourself to your clients and sell your online courses. Here’s how to build a professional website that is worthy of your quality services:
Choose How You Want to Sell Your Courses
Are you going to sell your courses as one-off products? Or would you like to create a membership site? Let’s see the options you’ve got.
Market Your Online Coaching Academy
Marketing your online coaching academy is an ongoing effort. Here are a few ideas to start with:
So…Are You Going to Lead the Way?
Creating an online leadership coaching academy is an intelligent business move for a leadership coach. Offering coaching in a hybrid model, holding sessions in person and others online, will also help your clients unload their busy schedules. This way, you can reach more clients and maximize your revenue.
LearnWorlds, with its fully customizable website templates, advanced learning features, and marketing tools, allows you to create a leadership coaching academy that stands out. Reach clients everywhere and increase your profit by taking your business online today!
Further reading you might find interesting: