Leadership coaching: telling it like it really is, really, really?

May Newsletter

Lots of discussion and research has been entered into under the name of leadership coaching. Is the leader, values driven, authentic or a mixture of reactions to situations?

Authentic leadership is very useful and can be used to help the client (I refuse to call someone coachee or mentee, mainly because it’s not about me it’s about them) to focus not only on their views, perceptions and activities but also the views of others. No one leads in a vacuum. By the very word ‘leader’ it presupposes that there are followers of some description.

So let’s start with some definitions, if authentic leadership is about the character then the strengths of the individual are attuned to the organisation.

There is no pain or paradox for the individual or the organisation, unfortunately this is like the Holy Grail, something to aspire to and seek but not necessarily attain all the time. I often think of organisations as a huge person who learns, changes and develops, both in order to survive and to start to thrive.


Reflection is a great thing if only we had time to do it, perhaps it’s better to view it as something integral to leadership; the real learning that takes place when we really, really have time to consider.

So what is authentic leadership about?

  • Standing back, paying attention to what one is focusing on
  • Teasing out the mental states which underlay the behaviour of self and others
  • Acknowledging, labelling and accepting difficult thoughts and feelings
  • Being open to multiple perspectives and embracing ambiguity
  • Shifting attention to different levels of meaning

Without reflective awareness managers, or any other form of leader, are less adaptable and tend to swing towards a couple of defensive leadership positions, typically described as defiance and compliance.

Other than the authentic stance, the two other positions leaders take are defiance and compliance. Defiance is the self assertive stance, ‘it’s all about me’, controlling, critical, and emotionally distant. Compliance is a focused bias at the expense of others, responsive and fearful.

 Whereas the authentic position balances, has a sense of perspective, adaptable and evokes collaboration and creativity.

In an every more hectic and challenging world to take some time to reflect and review may well be great to do) with the help of your guide I never know what coach means)

What type of paradox do you have?

Currently enjoying reading The Chimp Paradox by Dr Steve Peters (www.thechimpparadox.co.uk) where he describes the Human and Chimp parts of the mind and how each has a part to play. Dr Peters explains the struggle that takes place within your mind and then shows how to apply this understanding to every area of your life.

Given the various ways in which we can sometimes sabotage ourselves and allow are emotions to overtake our actions

loved the way he gives clear examples and ways of building your own happiness and success

Have recommended it to several coaching clients and have seen the positive benefit on them, as it has given them another perspective and clarity without the medical / psychological terminology that can be so alienating for the non specialist

Not so lonely leaders how to get a group buzz going?

It’s interesting what people take from a workshop, having run a numbers of introductory workshops looking at what troubles small businesses or owner managers I’m left with a number of conclusions

Isolation at times effects everyone
Motivation goes up and down we all need a boost
Resilience needs to be practiced and worked on
Mindfulness what to do when your mind is full
Asking yourself questions that you cannot answer are common
Sometimes it’s just like that
Getting to know others more deeply helps me build trust with them

Some of the most significant learning that came from the workshops was

If things not going well on a particular day you have the flexibility to do something different, so obvious it’s a revelation
That “my business gets me” the exercise was a revelation
Creating a sentence about me leading my business
Time to reflect
Mindfulness is important
What is / are my goals
My competence sometimes prevents me
30 days it’s too long for me to continually change a habit
Choose the right type of goals
Something stops me from celebrating my success
I can play around with new business ideas and just have fun with them

Often people are concerned with owning up their challenges or issues so I guess a workshop entitled the lonely leaders action workshop might be a stretch too far.
So I thought I would ask the audience the result a fifty fifty split between

Lonely Leaders Action Workshop
Growing Your Business Through Growing You

So for some the title is too much of an admission and for others it’s about what they would like to achieve.

The reactions were positive and thoughtful from the people

Great mix of exercises, video, reflection
Peter thank you, you have given me a lot of food for thought
It’s not for me at the moment but I can see it would be helpful for many self employed people
Thanks for an interesting day
I think it offers something not possible from training or networking to provide

Looking forward to the next groups of leaders who want to build their resilience, motivation, ideas, options and direction