26 Apr

What it takes to be a Leader

Throughout history there have been some exceptional leaders, Ghandi, Churchill, and Nelson Mandela are a few that come to mind. All these great leaders have stood out over the decades and have mastered the art of leading a group of people, where in some circumstances have had to lead in the most harrowing of circumstances. What was the reason that people chose to follow these great leaders?

There has been extensive research completed by many universities and organisations over the years to try and pinpoint what exactly are the traits or qualities of a good leader. The research has apparently come back inconclusive. As you can guess, every exceptional leader who has stood out in a crowd has come with a different background, value system, experiences and character. Unfortunately there is no such thing as one neat little set of leadership traits. If you had to compare Ghandi and Churchill, these two men were polar opposites in their leadership styles, even missing a few key leadership traits some would say. However, they are still regarded as great leaders of our time.

There are however two traits that do rise above the countless leadership traits that we see on personal development lists and job description requirements and those two are as follows.

  1. Good leaders have the ability to adapt to their circumstances: A leader is someone who can assess and acknowledge the environment for what it is. Expecting the environment to be perfect for their unique requirements would be an impossible ask. Good leaders can evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a situation as well as identify future opportunities.  Never wishing what could be, but knowing what the results will be into the future. Good leaders truly believe in the vision themselves, so much so that their passion and motivation for achieving their vision shines through in all that they do.
  2. Good leaders understand the need for building relationships: Leaders understand that in order to reach the ultimate vision they need the people around them to firstly buy into that vision. Once that has happened only then can action plans be  executed.

How do you get people to follow you or buy into the vision? Well, this could be the place where some of the other important traits come in. Good leaders know that it’s not about spitting out orders and expecting results. It’s ultimately about building relationships. What are some of the characteristics of a strong relationship? What should a good leader be practising everyday?

  • Respect: Earning respect from the team by practising active listening, being accountable for one’s actions, practising what they preach and  stepping up and leading from the front.
  • Empathy: Taking the time to understand the team and how they view the situation. Considering their feedback and suggestions to make them feel part of the process.
  • Loyalty: Being honest and open with the team builds loyalty and trust.
  • Treating everyone as unique: Good leaders take the time to get to know the individual team members. Their style, strengths, challenges, personal goals and dreams. The leader will help each team member to grow, develop and reach personal goals whilst working towards the business vision.

Do you have these leadership traits? If not, what do you need to do to develop them?

26 May

What makes a good coach?

Recently I was asked “What makes a good coach?”

There are literally a hundred different answers to this question. There is also no exact right or wrong answer, as it depends purely on who is asking and what they are actually looking for in a coach at a particular time.

Different characteristics will mean different things to different people. Certain personality traits may be higher on your list of importance when it comes to selecting a coach than on someone else’s list. However the one trait that I believe everyone should see as key to what makes a good coach, and that should be on the top of everyone’s list when in the coach selection process, is trust and the coach’s ability to instil trust into the coaching relationship. Here is why I say that:

  1. Trust is first and foremost the most important component of any part of the coaching relationship. The coaching partnership is built on a foundation of mutual trust and respect.  Without trust, there will be no true relationship and the coaching results would most probably be poor.
  2. As a client you are trusting someone to keep your coaching sessions private and confidential.
  3. As a client you are trusting that the coach has got your best interest at heart. There shouldn’t be any hidden agendas or commission kick-backs down the line.
  4. You are trusting that the coach is holding a non-judgemental safe space for you to work through your goals. You need to feel comfortable in your coaching sessions with no fear of being judged.

So the next time you are investigating the services of a coach, don’t just think about what personality traits would work well for you. Ask yourself two vital questions. “How will this coach instil trust into this potential partnership?” and  “Can I trust them?”

Need professional coaching assistance? Contact Nicole nicole@tikumu.co.nz