Supporting leaders to face the current and future requirements of their role is a challenge often addressed though leadership coaching and development programs. These come in a range of different formats, and may be delivered internal or external to the organisation.
Real change takes time
There is much evidence to show that real behavioural change only occurs over time, with significant focus and reflection. There remains some debate as to the exact timeframe required, and it does depend on the complexity and relatedness of the new habit.
A 2009 study by Phillipa Lally suggested that on average, it takes more than two months before a new behaviour becomes automatic. Study participants took between 18 and 254 days to form new habits, of varying levels of complexity. It therefore makes sense for leadership programs to be delivered over many months, not days, to support the opportunity to embed real behavioural change.
Why value leadership coaching?
So what value does leadership coaching bring to the mix?
Leadership coaching develops emotional development
Emotional Intelligence is said to be critical for leadership success. In “Working with Emotional Intelligence”, Daniel Goleman reported that 80-90% of the competencies that differentiate top performers are in the domain of emotional intelligence. In order to truly build self-awareness, and thereby self-regulation, it is necessary to reflect on ideas and concepts as they apply to us.
As leaders it is important to be able to consider our own behaviours and intentions, and the impact of these on others. The process of coaching facilitates this understanding of self through questioning techniques and coaching frameworks.
Leadership coaching supports goal setting
Coaching also supports the achievement of relevant and specific goals and objectives. The accountability that the coaching relationship brings is useful for keeping leaders on track with embedding the new behaviours.
In “The Power of Habit”, Charles Duhigg explains why habits exist and how they can be changed. Coaching can assist developing leaders to explore unhelpful habits and to create new beneficial habits that support them in their leadership roles.
Outcomes of leadership coaching
When leadership development programs incorporate a coaching component, this enables:
- Increased learning transfer
- Improved commitment to behavioural change
- Greater capacity for goal achievement
- A tailored and individual learning element
- A chance to reflect upon and discuss concepts and ideas
- A confidential space to explore thoughts and feelings
How to find a leadership program for your organisation
When seeking a leadership program that will provide the sustained behavioural change your organisation needs, ensure it contains a coaching component. Alternatively look to support your programs with an experienced external coach. The value coaching as an element of leadership development will bring to your leaders and your organisation cannot be underestimated.