Coaching Corner: Bringing Out the Best in Others
Have you ever noticed how some leaders have a knack for bringing out the best in others? They have this talent for recognizing potential. I believe they look for it, confident that it’s there and then they exploit it for the sake of the individual, the team, the organization, the world. These leaders help others become aware of their gifts and talents, so that they can make choices about the impact they have, or not.
Leaders that bring out the best in others have their priorities straight. They lead from a place of intended altruism. Miriam-Webster defines altruism as, unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others. It’s no mistake that the word “other” is pluralized. Leaders that operate from a place of intended altruism, hold the best intent for the individual and the best intent for the collective, in concert. There is a selfish, selflessness at play, as the word “intended” reshapes the definition of altruism. This kind of leadership challenges the individual because the system’s evolution demands it. For example, I want more for you, because I want more for our customers, or our economy, our environment, or the future of our children. There is a global picture that these leaders see. They are connected at the core to their purpose and they coach others in finding their own purpose so they can use their talents and gifts for the sake of something bigger than themselves. While these leaders may have great expectancy that the individual’s purpose is connected to their own, they have no expectation that this will be the case. They want full potential to be utilized above all else, even self-motivated wants and desires.
I talk with people every day that have lost (or sadder still) never found an energy and enthusiasm for their every day work. Team member satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty come from people doing work that they have an affinity for. Values’ coaching helps connect individuals with what they are passionate about. Ineffective Leader Coaches spend too much time coaching to the facts, the results, and the doing, and very little time coaching on why it matters in the first place (not why it matters to the leader but why it matters to the individual). If you want to support a sustainable organization, then coach people on purpose, theirs, not yours.
Coaching on Purpose exercise
Set aside 10-15 minutes for a coaching conversation with someone on your team. Avoid having a conversation about topics other than what they want most from their work. If you haven’t spent time on such topics in the past, be prepared for some initial surprise and potential concern as to why you are raising the topic. Let the team member know in advance that you’re seeking to understand more about their career aspirations so that you can help them accomplish their goals (P.S. You have to mean this part, or this conversation will never work!). Remember, the greater the trust that exists between you and the team member, the more honest their responses. Some of the questions below will support your coaching dialogue, and create self-awareness and accountability on what creates passion for the team member and how they can move in that direction. Periodically discuss what actions the individual is taking to bring their values, vision, purpose, and mission in life to work.
- Tell me what tasks within your current role you most enjoy?
- What do you like best about your job? Least?
- If you could create the perfect role for yourself, what would it look like?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- What do you need to do to realize that goal?
- What special training, mentoring, or coaching do you need from me? Others?
- If your long term career plan is in another discipline or industry, how can your current role help you achieve your long term plan?
- What specific action will you take in the next 90 days that support your long term career goal?
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