Becoming a Better Leader Through Coaching

Theo Etzel’s Management Matters

For the past 10 years, I have had a business coach. She meets with me regularly to discuss anything on my agenda and bring up observations about me as a leader and business manager. She provides honest feedback, acts as a sounding board and counselor, provides an outside perspective on my business, and helps me to see the forest for the trees.

Why do I do this?
First, I want to avoid tunnel vision, which is a disease that leaders can easily catch from being a part of the day-to-day operations of any business. A well-rounded business coach offers a broad perspective, helping leaders see issues (both opportunities and threats) from a different perspective. Working with my business coach has helped effectively build the Conditioned Air team as well as develop the programs that sustain our business in Southwest Florida.

Second, I recognize my personal need for coaching. I am a big believer in choosing team members who enhance the areas of my life in which I am deficient. In that sense, I am a team-building coach in my own business. But even coaches need coaching to expand their capabilities and capacity to lead. It is a leader’s responsibility to continue to grow, to serve the best interests of the employees and the community.

It can be difficult for leaders to fully separate some personal issues from business issues. Of course, this does not apply only to leaders. The difference is that while your billing clerk can come to you or a manager to seek direction, you as a leader, cannot. To pour your heart out to subordinates over a lost business deal or a personnel problem is to completely undermine the organization.

A leader is being observed at all times. He or she sets the company mood. So a leader’s discussions about company problems are best held with someone outside the company. What I’m describing here borders on counseling, and great business coaches have a facet of this at their disposal. To be truly effective, every subject should be on the table with a coach.

In my next two blog entries, I will discuss business coaching basics, determining if you are ready for a coach and offer three keys to a successful coaching relationship.

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