The Power of a Coach: Maximize Leadership Effectiveness to Increase Profitability

By Susan Power, Founder & CEO of PowerUp Leadership.

Multiply Your Leaders to Grow Your Business

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Coaching expands employees’ mindsets, behaviours, beliefs, and ultimately moves the needle on business results.

Many of our corporate leaders have not been trained on how to coach their people with a whole-person approach to leadership.  Leadership effectiveness suffers as a result. Often leaders have no idea as to personal challenges that their employees grapple with and have in their minds each day at work.  To address this challenge, many leading organizations are relying more on external professional coaches to deep-dive into employees’ mindsets . There is a balance between internal and external coaching. Coaching is not therapy, it is much more forward looking. While it is understandable, many bosses do not want to know all the details of their employees lives, and fear getting too much information by asking probing questions, the bottom line is that when your employee’s mindsets and behaviours are out of balance, it does impact the bottom line.  Supporting your people to create the right mindsets fosters business growth.

Coaching your employees can give your organization a major competitive advantage, increased leadership effectiveness. Patterson conducted a study with his team at Stanford University that researched the conflict communication skills of over 25,000 people from dozens of organizations over two decades, and showed an increase of overall productivity of 40%, quality improvements of 30% and cost decreases of 50% by enhancing the capability of team members to communicate in difficult times (Patterson et al, 2005, p.15).

Recent Focus on Improving Corporate Governance

With the renewed discussion on corporate governance with 181 of Top CEO’s redefining the Purpose of a Corporation, signing their names to this purpose as part of the recent Business Roundtable, it is clear that the current model for corporate governance, and leadership is broken. History has shown that most corporations only achieve a fraction of their potential, and then die.  For example, by 1983, one-third of the Fortune 500 companies had been acquired or broken into pieces or merged with other companies (Source: HBR, 1997, The Living Company).

Why do so many companies fail to survive and grow?  Evidence points to the fact that many corporations fail because their managers focus almost exclusively on producing goods and services, concerning themselves too heavily with land, labor and capital, and overlooking that labor involves real people (HBR, 1997, The Living Company).

The companies that have survived for 200+ years are those that put a real focus on their people.  Assets can be repurchased, people are not always for sale.  There are some proven strategies that long standing companies can embrace to thrive and grow.

Invest Regularly in Human Growth, Learning & Potential

Shell is one example of a long-standing corporation.  In 1997, Shell spent approximately $2,400 per employee each year on training.  The best leadership training is designed to be very collaborative involving have teams of employees participating in intensive training together at set intervals. This brings together people from across the organization and involves knowledge dissemination and relationship building.

Create Mutual Trust Built on Shared Values

In a company that is long lasting, all human resources processes are built on shared values that all its people understand and live by day-to-day as part of their contract.  This embeds a deep loyalty among employees, and creates deep trust. All new hires are assessed against these values to the same depth as they are assessed against technical competency.  The company then invests tremendous time and effort into onboarding the new hires through stories and executive panels on what these values mean at their organization.  Only employees who demonstrate these values are promoted into key leadership positions, and even how the organization exits people from the company embraces these same values.

Take a Whole Person Approach to Mentoring & Coaching

When we come to work each day, we should not have to leave part of ourselves at the door.  There is a real focus right now on taking a Whole Person Model to Leadership whereby we are able tap into our mindsets, behaviors and achieve results that can only come from tapping into our whole person.  This means a culture that is built on trust and courage, one that encourages its employees to be authentic in the workplace to maximize communication, truth, well-being and effectiveness.  Research suggests that many people in the workplace want a mentor, but have none, and those that do, the mentor focuses almost exclusively on career development. A whole person approach to mentoring and coaching helps a mentee achieve success in all facets of their life.  Some powerful questions that a mentor or coach can ask might include (source HBR, 2019, Great Mentors Focus on the Whole Person, Not Just Their Career):

  • What is your story?
  • What keeps you up at night?
  • What is most important to you?
  • Can you see yourself being stimulated and fulfilled on your current career path for the next five years?
  • What do you do to “reboot” so that the busyness and tech overload in your life does not result in burnout?
  • Who has been most influential in your life?
  • What did you love doing in high school?
  • What would you have done differently in your life if you had the chance?

Life is messy.  When one part of life gets out of balance, whether it is financial, family life, work life, spiritual, physical fitness, etc. it impacts every other facet of our lives.  A coach can help an individual get “unstuck” through expanding how they think and feel.  This results in actions, outcomes, and ultimately behaviours changing to drive results, and business growth.

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