Are you wondering what is leadership coaching and why you need it for leading?

Leading is as challenging as parenting.

Leaders have the responsibility of:

  • Setting the vision
  • Choosing the path
  • Defining the guiding principles
  • Inspiring their tribe
  • Accepting all that goes wrong

Leaders should lead by example, not by their teachings.

To help you lead better, we have asked the following question to some of the top leadership coaches:

What is their definition of leadership coaching, and why do leaders need it?

I’m thankful to all the leadership coaches for their generosity in sharing their secrets to help leaders lead better. 🙏

Enjoy the responses, and here’s to your leadership success! ✌️

CD

1. CD Kotze

CD Kotze has been a neuroscience-based transformational coach since 2009. As the founder of 34 Coaching, he is on a mission to help 10 000 executives and small business owners partner with the world’s best transformational and business coaches. He believes coaching can have a positive impact both on the people receiving the coaching, and those within their circle of influence.

CD also has an award-winning, 22-year international hospitality background during which he was instrumental in opening flagship hotels and restaurants and helping run some of the biggest events in the world.

What is your definition of leadership coaching, and why do leaders need it?

As a transformational coach, I define leadership coaching as a partnership to help leaders create authentic leadership success. They achieve this by setting a clear purpose and creating goals and strategies that best suit them, their environments, and outcomes – while allowing themselves to grow from within.

The result is they not only become the complete, balanced leaders they’ve always wanted to be but also have a far greater awareness of the impact their actions and egos have on others.

Why do leaders need leadership coaching?

Now more than ever, a more complete leadership approach requires transformation. It’s essential to be aware not only of your own needs, impact, and outcomes but also of the needs – both personal and professional – of the people you lead.

As a leader, it’s critical to transform in order to adjust. We’re all dealing with the last remnants of the pandemic, the “Great Resignation,” a war nobody expected, economic uncertainty, and cultural conflict – a leader who doesn’t transform will end up isolated and alone – and that defeats the purpose of leadership.

The reason many leaders find it difficult to transform stems from how our brains work. In our thinking process, it is easier to stick to old habits – the tried and tested – rather than recognize the need for a new approach. The brain is metabolically our most energy-sapping organ – it would rather save the energy new thinking would need.

Recognizing the need for your own transformation can go against the labels and egos leaders have developed for themselves. Very often, they’re unable to think in a way where they are not defined and identified by their job titles.

Thinking about change can feel overwhelming, and seen as an attack on subconscious habits. As such, in an attempt to save energy, the brain automatically reverts to fear and negative thoughts. These can manifest as imposter syndrome, fighting against change, or always doing the same thing. All this does is stall their actions, meaning what they’ve always allowed happening will continue to happen.

This is the perfect opportunity for growth and the commitment to doing the work that goes with it. This is where coaching comes in – and where neuroscience-based transformational coaching works best.

This kind of coaching works on the leader’s thinking, focusing on what is important, rather than just adding more stuff to the checklist of things to do. It is based purely on the leader’s agenda, and works on a balanced approach, setting both professional and personal outcomes.

Collaborating with a transformational coach, setting your purpose, and letting your goals flow from that, anchors you. It gives you a solid foundation to work from and something to revert to when your mind starts doubting the outcomes. This is important when creating a forward state of mind.

A coach can help you break down your transformation into additional milestones, so you develop the discipline of habit-forming actions and create a bias for intentional action.

The process determines the outcomes.

When you work with a neuroscience-based coach, you get to build, chunk down and action a process you might have thought about in moments of clarity, but never dreamed of actually developing.

Leaders who have a neuroscience transformational coach gain:

  • Greater clarity for an improved sense of direction and focus.
  • Increased self-awareness and responsibility.
  • Improved ability to relate to and influence others.
  • Increased confidence, motivation, and conviction.
  • Improved personal productivity and effectiveness.
  • Increased resourcefulness and resilience.

Leadership coaching helps you focus on the vision, so you can plan your actions on that, and find each step without overwhelming. You work in a space removed from the problems and drama, so you don’t let the detail of that be your focus.

Neuroscience proves that working on yourself also has a positive ripple effect on those around you. This is why working with a neuroscience-based coach helps leaders become more complete and impactful.

Every leader deserves a life-changing individualized coaching partnership.  Just imagine the effect it would have in creating a better world.

David Clutterbuck is a leadership coach and founder of international consultancies David Clutterbuck Partnership (DCP) and Coaching & Mentoring International (CMI) which specializes in supporting organizations in developing mentoring and coaching programs, and in establishing sustainable mentoring and coaching cultures.

David has written or co-written more than 70 books and is currently a visiting professor to the coaching and mentoring faculties of Henley Business School, Oxford Brookes University, Sheffield Hallam University, and York St John.

In 2011, He was voted Coaching at Work magazine’s Mentor of the Year. He also co-founded the European Mentoring and Coaching Council, for which he is now International Special Ambassador.

What is your definition of leadership coaching, and why do leaders need it?

Leadership coaching is about reconnecting leaders with values — their own and those that relate to being both human and humane — in order for them to achieve greater things, not just for themselves but for the human systems around them. 

My definition of leadership is “the conversations that move mountains”. In that sense, effective coaches are leaders, too. When I researched the core qualities of leaders and coaches, I found them to be the same: Compassion, Courage, Curiosity, and Connectedness. Often the role of a coach is to help a leader rediscover and enhance these qualities.

Leaders need leadership coaching because forces around them are constantly creating disconnects that diminish them, even when it appears they are achieving goals and targets. A leader is but a shadow of their optimal self if they cannot look back and say honestly “The world is a better place because of the role I played.”

Cassa

3.  Cassa Grant

Cassa Grant is the creator of Wonderbrand™ and Wonderleader,™ the coaching programs that help you SHOW UP as the kind of leader you’d want to follow.
 
She helps her clients communicate better, get more buy-in, and feel really great about how they’re spending their time. They become confident leaders with unstoppable influence, unbeatable stories, and powerful personal brands. Oh, and they get to hear about her time traveling the world and working in Antarctica, too.
 
Her techniques mix brand and storytelling strategy, performance coaching, and subconscious mindset work to help transform her clients from who they THINK they are into who they REALLY are so they can make their mark on the world.
 
Cassa is a certified NeuroLinguistic Programming practitioner, life, and business coach.

What is your definition of leadership coaching, and why do leaders need it?

In order to be the kind of leader you’d want to follow, you need to take the time to define leadership (and your identity as a leader) for yourself with effective leadership coaching. Leadership coaching should also work on skill-building, subconscious blocks, and ownership/ self-responsibility. 

Because when you get this right, you’ll be able to have a happy team, prevent problems, trust your decisions, and… sleep well at night. You’ll also be able to grow consistently and act with integrity.

Why leaders need leadership coaching:

Everyone knows what leadership is, but few people can articulate what it really MEANS.

Some CEOs define leadership as having business acumen, like setting a vision or achieving goals for a company. Other people focus on human qualities like empathy, humility, and diversity.

Leaders should have their own personal definition of leadership, which will influence how they lead, as well as the culture and direction of their company. This can (and should) also change as the leaders themselves change.

A leader is someone who can see how things can be improved and who inspires people to move toward that better vision. They have to be driven by the right motivation and need to be able to make a positive impact on the people around them. AND they have to be able to manage, communicate, and delegate well.

Creating a cohesive definition is a key step for developing yourself as a leader, maintaining unity, and keeping a strong leadership focus.

And most importantly, it helps you gain confidence in your leadership abilities.

When you understand very well what your personal definition of a leader is, you know exactly how to show up and BE that person.

You’ll be able to avoid:

  • Making unnecessary mistakes
  • Creating damaging and needless conflict
  • Seeming flaky because you can’t make up your mind about key initiatives
  • Becoming a bottleneck for your team 

You may have thought about this briefly in the past, but never really sat down and considered it.

Whether you’re a solopreneur or in charge of a large department or company, you’re a leader. And chances are, you have blind spots that are preventing you from being the most effective leader you can be. 

Leadership coaching helps you examine those blind spots and then move forward with intention based on your personal definition of leadership, unique strengths, and situation.

Dr. Lance Secretan is the world’s top authority on inspirational leadership, a trailblazing teacher, mentor, advisor, and coach (ranked 4th. in the world) and a world authority on corporate culture, whose bestselling books, inspirational talks, and life-changing retreats have touched the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.

He is the author of 21 books about inspiration, corporate culture, and leadership as well as a personal memoir, A Love Story. Lance is a riveting speaker and is acknowledged globally as one of our most insightful and original leadership teachers. A former CEO of a Fortune 100 company, university professor, award-winning columnist, author, and outdoor athlete, he has received numerous teaching, writing, and humanitarian awards, including the International Caring Award. He is Chairman of the Pay it Forward Foundation.

Lance is an expert skier, kayaker, and mountain biker, and divides his time between Ontario and Colorado.

What is your definition of leadership coaching, and why do leaders need it?

I don’t believe in leadership coaching. We all have roles as leaders, but we don’t need to learn “techniques to make us better leaders” and we don’t need “leadership coaching”. There are 250,000 books on Amazon about leadership and we spend $170 billion annually on leadership development. But even with all this learning and investment, leadership is broken everywhere—in corporate America (see the Great Resignation), healthcare, politics, law enforcement, academia, the church, entertainment, sports, and even the family.

Teaching or coaching more of the same, will not end well. What we actually need instead, is to understand what it takes to be an inspiring person, because people will do anything for those they find inspiring. Inspiration is the oxygen of the soul. It is the engine for everything. We smell a rose because it inspires us. We go to movies and restaurants that inspire us. We listen to music and read books that inspire us. We hang out with people that inspire us. We fall in love with and marry people that inspire us. We go to work for companies that inspire us.  And when the inspiration dies, we leave—it’s as simple as that.

So as coaches, our real role is first to teach a person how to become inspired (the Spark), then how to inspire others (the Flame), and finally to inspire the world (the Torch). My book, The Spark, the Flame, and the Torch lays out the path.  Once we are inspired, we can do anything!

Jacek is an International executive & team coach/trainer/consultant – working with top performers & teams. He has been voted by clients as the #1 trainer in Forbes magazine, certified by M.Goldsmith (top execs), CTI, and Team Coaching Int. (teams) and is a Professional Certified Coach by ICF – PCC.

He is the creator of the Power-Back system for executives to regain personal & professional effectiveness and specializes in professional challenge/change & mid-career power boost for top performers.

He is a Coach, trainer, and consultant in the areas of leadership, organizational change, vision, strategy, team development, and communication for top international corporations in Europe & globally. He is also an inspirational conference speaker – personal effectiveness & leadership and an established author.

What is your definition of leadership coaching, and why do leaders need it?

Leadership Coaching is coaching leaders to take on a leadership mindset and behavior.

A leader is a person who propels people towards some purpose. 

Therefore everyone, especially those managing people, needs to hone their leadership skills.

Alisha-Ali

6.  Allisha Ali

Allisha is the Founder, CEO and Principal Coach at UniqueYou Careers, a modern Coaching, Training, and Consulting Company specialised in Employee Engagement, Team Performance, and Leadership & Career Development.

Allisha is unique having fulfilled an academic career, a corporate career, and now an entrepreneur! Holding a Ph.D. in Chemistry, Allisha enjoyed a successful scientific corporate career in the Pharmaceutical Industry. Later, as a Senior Partner to the Chief Executive Office in a Fortune 500 company, she successfully led > 20 team transformations while gaining intense training & coaching from McKinsey. Allisha excelled at setting strategy, change management, and operational excellence, and as an internal certified Coach.

Today, Allisha combines her expertise, experience, skills, and a lifetime of continuous learning to create and deliver Rapid, Cost-effective & Enduring Employee & Team Engagement Solutions. She truly believes that we’re all unique, and her personal mission is to support Professionals to find and express their uniqueness empowering them to Be more, Lead more and Live more

What is your definition of leadership coaching, and why do leaders need it?

Why Leadership Coaching?

Like Beauty, Leadership cannot be defined- it’s in the eyes of the beholder. Regardless of gender or background, we all have the innate capacity to lead. I believe that no one needs permission to lead, however, to be a Leader in any situation, you need to have Followers.

In the modern world, Followers no longer follow blindly. They need a few core essentials: they must believe that the leader cares about them, understand their needs and that there is a sense of mutual trust.

While expertise and hard skills remain important for leadership roles, modern Leaders require soft, human skills to succeed. Without these skills, which are intangible and difficult to measure, Leaders will quickly lose their integrity and the respect and trust of their Team/Group members.

Leadership Coaching is important because it accelerates the development of the Leader which ultimately impacts engagement with Followers and the Performance of the Team/Group.

What is Leadership Coaching?

It’s a relationship between the Coach and the Leader, where the Coach supports the Leader in getting their A.C.T.© together. A.C.T.© is a proprietary system we use at UniqueYou Careers. Let’s take a deeper analysis of each component.

Awareness: Leaders who lack self-awareness are not fully aware of their emotions and thoughts and how those impact their own actions and words. And Leaders who lack social awareness are not fully aware of the needs of their Followers. The Coach supports them through coaching techniques and relevant training to elevate their emotional intelligence, their behaviors, and actions. This is necessary because emotional Intelligence muscle cannot be built just by reading books, it’s a practice.

Communication: The coach supports the leader in identifying their communication style, and developing clarity and confidence when communicating. They are also trained on the preferences of others so they can adapt their communication to meet the needs of their Followers.

Trust: Trust is neither tangible nor quantifiable and can take a long time to establish while it can be broken in a flash! A Leadership Coach supports the Leader to improve their credibility and reliability. It also helps Leaders to create a place of inclusiveness and psychological safety, which empowers others to share their opinions, and take a positive outlook on conflict, while fostering innovation.

Altogether, Leadership Coaching is a powerful and effective way to build the soft skills required to bridge the gap between the Leader and their Followers (team/group members).

Ruth-Ann is a Certified leadership coach. She helps women live and lead with passion, confidence, and impact.

Her focus is on helping Christian women team leads and managers develop skills and strategies necessary to grow and flourish in their roles so that they can lead with confidence, have an impact, and develop engaged and thriving teams.

In addition to her certified leadership coach training, her undergrad and grad degrees are in Psychology and Family Social Sciences. She has 20+ years of experience leading and supervising teams, managing projects, teaching and facilitating Christian life and personal leadership classes, and being involved with local non-profit Boards.

What is your definition of leadership coaching, and why do leaders need it?

Simply put, leadership coaching is a process in which a trained coach helps leaders develop key leadership skills and qualities, and to make the changes necessary to become effective in this role. For me, ‘leaders’ include those in senior management, mid-level management, supervisors, and even team or project leads. I encourage companies to make coaching available to current and aspiring leaders at all levels of their organization.

Here are 5 of the many reasons why leadership coaching is important:

  1. Every leader has unique needs – Even though leaders share many common challenges, how these play out in their lives differs according to their personalities, aspirations, experiences, and life situations. More ‘standard’ forms of learning (E.g., workshops, courses, resources from experts and thought leaders, etc.) provide the same information to everyone. In coaching, however, everything from the discoveries and learning to the subsequent application is tailored to the leader. The purpose is to help them fulfill their own leadership potential, not become a version of another leader.
  2. Empowerment – From the start, the leaders (not the coaches) are the ones who decide the focus, desired outcomes, and action plans. Rather than dole out advice, coaches facilitate this work by helping them pinpoint and address blind spots and growth inhibitors. As a result, leaders gain greater self-awareness, learn new ways of thinking, decision-making, and approaching new goals and challenges in the future. This builds their confidence and satisfaction.
  3. Dedicated time and space – Most leaders face two challenges when it comes to their development: time and a safe space. Every day is filled with competing demands on their time, energy, and attention with little opportunity to get quiet enough for introspection, reflection, and planning. Coaching sessions provide this much-needed uninterrupted time; often, at the end, they feel as if a weight has been lifted and they can think more clearly. Coaches fill a leader’s need for caring, confidential, and trusted partners in this work, ones who will also provide non-judgmental accountability and insightful perspective. This allows leaders to be open and honest about themselves, their challenges, and their goals. They can practice new behaviors and test out ideas with someone who is solely focused on supporting them.
  4. Positional and personal transformation – Leadership coaching is more about the leader’s WHO rather than their WHAT. While the desire to enhance their skills and achieve leadership-related goals may draw someone to coaching, the real lasting change comes as they experience internal transformation. Good coaches will coach the whole person; this means a primary focus on their beliefs, attitudes, and values. Making the necessary shifts in these areas enables leaders to have sustainable behavioural changes and attain meaningful outcomes.
  5. Ripple effect – By definition, leaders influence other people, so as they develop their capabilities, they have a greater impact on their teams, colleagues, and the entire organization. They foster trusting relationships, inspire, engage and develop their people, who draw together to form a flourishing and high-performing team. This in turn increases employee satisfaction, growth, and retention. Collectively, this benefits an organization’s customers and stakeholders as well as its bottom-line, and longevity. Leaders’ personal lives and relationships are also enriched.

Mike has close to two decades of experience inside the health, fitness, and coaching business industry; and an abundance of successes to his name. 

In 2012, he began the Barbell Shrugged podcast with Doug and Chris – and as they say, the rest is history. Over time, Mike built Shrugged, Barbell Business, Training Camp for the Soul, and multiple other coaching businesses into leaders inside the industry. After working and connecting with thought leaders and world-class coaches and teachers inside the industry, Mike noticed a gap in the market where the industry was letting down coaches all over the world.

Therefore in 2018, on a sabbatical, he began The Strong Coach. Since then, hundreds of coaches’ lives have been changed thanks to The Strong Coach

What is your definition of leadership coaching, and why do leaders need it?

Do you lead by example?

Most people come to the realization that children don’t learn from their parents by what they tell them, but by how they behave. The parents are modeling for the children. It makes total sense since the first few years of development, verbal skills are very minimal. The assumption is that as people get older that they shift out of this into just doing what they’re told.

Several years ago I was frustrated with my team members who were burning themselves out with work. I could tell that they were spread thin and it was impacting their effectiveness. I happened to have a session with a coach soon after experiencing this frustration. During our session, I learned that I attracted people with this tendency because I modeled it. And I modeled my behavior after my father. This was a dysfunctional way of being that was getting in the way of the company getting to where we needed to be.

Since then, I’ve used my business as a reflection of how I’m showing up. I lead by example and teach others to get their house in order. Many of the problems that you may think need an external solution can be solved by getting yourself squared away. Focus in, before focusing out.

KC

9. Kc Rossi

Kc Rossi is a Business & Leadership Coach who helps mission-driven CEOs and entrepreneurs optimize their performance, productivity, and profits.

She’s been a full-time entrepreneur since 1991 and has built six and 7+ figure businesses. Kc is a Certified Mindset Coach, Emotional Intelligence Practitioner, and trained in Neuro-Linguistic Programming, which allows her to bring deep insight to her coaching.

Kc is the Founder of The Soulprint Method®, a holistic approach that harnesses mindset and emotional intelligence to build a profitable and soul-aligned business without burnout.

She is the host of Women Developing Brilliance® — The Spirit of Business; a show dedicated to cultivating confidence, increasing visibility, elevating vibration, and leading with purpose.

What is your definition of leadership coaching, and why do leaders need it?

Leadership coaching is a process used to identify and achieve a desired future state.
Leadership coaching takes a development approach and harnesses tools to enhance one’s
productivity, performance, and procedures.

Leaders need leadership coaching to increase awareness in order to improve and elevate
their impact. Mindset, emotional intelligence, and behavior are just a few areas where leadership
coaching promotes change and influences transformation.

True leadership begins with self-leadership.

In order to be effective leaders, we must be willing to put the work into action in our own
lives. People are most affected and inspired by individuals that embody what they teach.

The power of expert mentorship and observation can not be underestimated. Newfound
perspective, motivation, clarity, and confidence are just a few of the benefits of leadership
coaching.

Since leaders have an impressive role in influencing, committing to continuous
improvement, self-awareness, and interpersonal skills ensure radical results — leadership
coaching helps facilitate progress.

Karen has coached top business leaders and helped individuals and teams from Fortune 500 companies manage change, increase productivity, integrate their personal and professional lives, and achieve their own definitions of success.

A nationally published columnist (Chatelaine magazine, “Ask a Job Expert” and “Ask a Balance Coach”) and sought-after speaker, Karen founded Parachute Executive Coaching in 1996. Karen has been featured many times in the media including CTV News, CBC Radio One’s Workology, The Globe & Mail, CFRA Radio Ottawa, TalkRadio (U.K.), the Toronto Star, Kiplinger’s, and Computer World Magazine.

Karen has an MBA in Marketing from the Ivey School and an undergraduate degree in Economics from Western University. She graduated from two of the world’s most established coach training programs and has been a teacher for both organizations. She was one of the first coaches to study the integration of Positive Psychology into coaching via Dr. Martin Seligman’s Authentic Happiness coach training program, and recently graduated as a Health Coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. A Master Certified Coach (MCC), a past Board member, and founder of the Toronto Chapter of the International Coaching Federation, Karen is a leader in the field of corporate coaching.

Karen was acknowledged as the inaugural recipient, in 2020, of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Coaching Federation, based on her contributions to and leadership within the field of coaching.

What is your definition of leadership coaching, and why do leaders need it?

Leadership coaching is a process by which leaders build self-awareness, broaden their skills and expand their influence by deepening their ability to reflect, connect and communicate. A qualified, competent leadership coach has deep training, relevant experience, and business acumen such that they can meet their leader client as a peer and equal. The more senior the leader, the less likely they are to have opportunities to share openly, process issues transparently and have their ideas challenged constructively.

A trained leadership coach can engage with the leader with objectivity and without agenda other than supporting the thriving and authenticity of the leader, who in turn serves as the steward of their enterprise.  

Elatia Abate is an entrepreneur, educator, and futurist who founded the Future of Now to help humans and companies thrive in the face of inevitable disruption and prepare for the ever-changing future ahead. Named a leading female futurist by Forbes and recognized as a Global Futurist Speaker by the Transdisciplinary Agora for Future Discussions, Elatia’s personal mission is to inspire others to shed despair and fear and instead embrace regenerative resilience.

She has consulted for and advised organizations like PricewaterhouseCoopers, UniGroup, Verizon, the University of Arizona, and the University of Cincinnati. 

What is your definition of leadership coaching, and why do leaders need it?

If I were to boil it down to its essence, I believe that leadership coaching is helping leaders see where they are standing in their own way and empowering them to take actions that will help them – and subsequently their teams and organizations –thrive. It is powerful and liberating when we realize that even if we don’t cause a given situation, we have the agency to do something about it. We are much more powerful than we think.

I would say that everyone needs coaching. The world of work is shifting to a dynamic where everyone, regardless of title, will need to lead. Having someone in your corner who can help you see where you’re getting in your own way, help you strengthen your ability to communicate, and give you a boost of confidence when needed is invaluable.

Antonio Neves is a world-renowned speaker and top success coach known for asking the tough questions that help mid-career professionals get unstuck. Having experienced the mid-career crisis firsthand, Antonio helps people face critical decisions so they can reboot, reset and refuel their lives.

He’s shared his message on hundreds of stages worldwide, including Google, Amazon, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Visa, Booking.com, Credit Union National Association (CUNA), and Stanford University 

What is your definition of leadership coaching, and why do leaders need it?

Leadership coaching helps leaders get better, improve and upgrade the areas of their life that matter most. The simple truth is that no one who has accomplished anything of significance did it alone. Neither should leaders. There’s a reason top CEOs, executives, entrepreneurs, and athletes work with coaches: objectivity.

Coaches can see (and ask questions) from an objective and unbiased point of view the vast majority of people are likely to miss. Even more, our family and friends can’t play this role for us because they’re too close and anything but objective.

Conclusion

We appreciate all the successful leadership coaches for taking the time and share their personal definitions of leadership coaching and why leaders need it. We hope these inspiring responses will help leaders lead better.

What is your favourite definition of leadership coaching and why?

Feel free to share it in the comments below.

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About Rana

Building a website that drives traffic and generates leads is challenging. Rana is a website development consultant and a Co-Founder of WP Minds, a website consulting service that helps coaches, trainers, authors, and creatives to create winning website strategy, develop high converting websites, attract visitors and convert leads into customers to grow their businesses.

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