Today, we are going to look at leadership principles through a new lens.

It may surprise you to hear that everyone is a leader. It doesn’t matter who you are, what your profession is or what you spend your spare time doing. Whatever your circumstance, you will be in a position of leadership at some point in your daily life. Even if the only person that you are leading is yourself.

When many people approach leadership and its principles to understand how they can become a better leader, the approach that is taken tends to be pretty similar across the board. You will be taught how to speak and present yourself in a manner that garners respect and intrigue. You may delve into leadership principles and be given the tools to incorporate them into your own life. 

As they say, ‘’there’s more than one way to peel an orange.’’ And with that in mind, I introduce to you: The Coach Approach.

The essence of The Coach Approach is being able to unlock the talent, ability and passion that people have within them. This is what people pay a coach to do – but you don’t have to be a coach to do it. 

Good coaching skills can be learned and applied by anyone. The Coach Approach is great for anyone looking to learn the fundamental principles and communication techniques that go into getting the best results out of individuals. But it’s also ideal for those seeking to take their first steps toward achieving ICF coaching certification.

So, if a different approach to leadership may interest you, stick around and see if attacking leadership from the viewpoint of The Coach Approach may work for you. I have a feeling that it has a lot to offer.

#1:  Let go of the outcome 

It may come as a surprise to you that the first item to kick off the list is about letting go of the outcome. It may even seem contradictory.  So, why would I tell you to let it go?

Stick with me and it will all make sense soon.

If we cast our minds to the great leaders that we know of, they will all have one thing in common. They had a vision.  They all had an outcome in their minds-eye and they worked tirelessly to make it a reality.

Do you think that they would have been able to lead successfully if they were so attached to the outcome that there was no room for flexibility? Can you really have clarity if you’re so attached to something that you don’t allow yourself to see any other avenues that could lead you to your goal?

The Coach Approach encourages you to let go of the outcome and enjoy the journey that you are on to get there. In order to be a good leader, flexibility is one skill that should be firmly placed in your toolkit.

To be flexible means that you have confidence in yourself and those around you. You believe in your skills and abilities to such a degree, that even if things do go wrong or you encounter a change of plan, you know that you will achieve your goals anyway. It might just look a little different than you had first imagined.

With that self belief, comes trust. When you believe in your own abilities and the abilities of those around you, you trust that whatever you’re seeking will never be too far away.

#2 Trust

In the last point, I mentioned that letting go of the outcome and believing in your capabilities instils a certain level of trust. Trust is really important as a leader. Not just so that you are able to believe in yourself, trust is paramount for those that you are leading.

Have you ever heard someone speak with such unshakeable conviction that it’s almost impossible to not be drawn in to what they are saying? They become a flame and you, the moth. Usually, when someone has the ability to speak in such a manner, it is because they trust that what they’re saying is right. To lead with trust will then have a ripple effect to those that are listening and watching.  They trust that with your leadership and guidance, they can achieve the goals that they speak of. 

The Coach Approach teaches that trust is one of the facets of being a great leader. If those around you don’t trust you, unlocking their talents and passions is a pretty mean feat. Using trust as one of your core leadership principles allows you to navigate a space that is open, willing and beaming with the capacity for further growth.

#3: Stop telling and start listening 

When you’re in a leadership position of any kind, it can be easy to become accustomed to talking, telling and giving directions. Those behaviours are absolutely necessary. However, it is absolutely vital that you don’t forget to listen.

It’s no secret that any decent leader will be able to speak and communicate well. That is a given. But, what about their ability to listen?

Many of us will listen to respond. A leader should be listening to understand.

It’s a common misconception that leaders have all of the answers. It’s like when you start a new job and you have a question that needs answering. You head to your manager or head of department each time because in your mind, they have all of the resolutions to your queries.

What we tend to forget sometimes is that leaders don’t know everything. They’re a walking, talking human,  full of masses of information mixed in with some blind spots. Just like you or I.

A good leader however, recognises this and uses that humanity to their advantage. They will be approachable, intuitive and honest. They will recognise the inherent need to listen and gain knowledge that wasn’t available to them before.

Funnily enough, when you begin to actively listen, you may find that you have more questions than you did before. While it might not feel like it, these questions lead you to be a more knowledgeable leader, with a richer understanding and world view. 

Before embarking on your journey to find the answers to your questions, you would have had a set way of doing things or thinking. Actively listening will now allow you to find more options and choices that you were not aware of before. Maybe, just maybe, you might stumble upon something greater than you ever could have imagined. That is the magic of listening to understand.

#4: Change the lens 

We all see the world differently. Even people who have grown up in the same place and have had similar experiences, will all have a view of the world that differs. Belief systems, values, demographics, experiences, biology make up the carefully woven fabric of who we are.

Our emotions also play a massive part in the way that we view the world. The emotions that we experience shape how we see ourselves, the world and relationships. If you were to wake up feeling grateful, full of joy and love, the world will look very different than if you were to wake up resentful, upset and feeling hard done by.

If you are someone who finds yourself in a leadership role, being able to recognise the various differences that influence the individuals in your team can only work to your advantage. This is what we call an Ontological Approach.

Ontological in this context means: The study of being.  It is a philosophical inquiry into what it is that makes us human and how that ‘being’ is different from other sentient beings. It is the study of what it means to be human.

An Ontological Approach gives you the tools and awareness you need to work with three crucial dimensions – emotions, language and the body. Approaching coaching in this way gives you the ability to be able to reveal your clients assumptions, beliefs, emotions, physiological/biological structures, and narratives. These will differ from person to person as they are created by history, cultures and systems. Some are even self created.

As a Coach Approach works from this perspective, approaching leadership principles from this viewpoint allows you to explore how you have constructed the lens through which you view the world and what you think is possible for you because of that. It encourages you to help others swap out the lens. How can you help people see something different? How can you help them change their world view for the better? 

Related content: An Ontological Approach To Coaching


Which approach will you take to leadership principles?

There are various different ways to approach leadership and its principles. The Coach Approach is quite different to many of the other approaches that you may know or have experienced. Flexibility, change and a new perspective may be just what you need to reach your goal.

If that may be the case for you, we would love for you to come on board and experience our ICF coach training programme ‘Mastering the Coach Approach‘ for yourself.

You can find all of the information about pricing, timings, content and more here.

We hope to see you front and centre!