Tanya Brandt has been in leadership roles within Investment Banking for 14 years, during which time she has led teams and increasingly complex strategic and regulatory initiatives within business and compliance functions. She is also an executive coach.
Coaching leadership is a well-recognised style – how often is it truly applied correctly?
It wasn’t until I qualified as an executive coach that I truly understood the difference between coaching and other performance development such as on-the-job training and mentoring.
What I wanted to achieve with this article was an informative read which connected my experiences of coaching experience and of working within the Investment Banking and regulatory space.
Organisations Change – and Now More Than Ever
COVID-19 has brought new challenges with teams no longer being co-located even within the same city. There are fewer ways for ad hoc employee connections in the virtual workplace. Gone, for now, are the casual desk-drop or corridor-meeting chats or lunch meetings. Organisational changes and the accompanying uncertainty regarding job security are front of most people’s minds at the moment.
Helping your employees to be more resilient, to deal with uncertainty and address challenges constructively, is more important than ever. Change is never easy, but coaching has been shown to be important in the change.
Organisations have already changed in the pandemic – and they will continue to be different, even when some people return to an office setting. Coaching can help bridge this change gap. Coaching increased employee resilience and workplace well-being through helping employees deal with change, in a 2009 randomised controlled study by Grant, Curtayne, and Burton. Employees also feel invested in when they are coached, as described in a 2019 study (Szabó, Slavić, and Berber) on ‘Coaching and its effects on individual and organizational performances in Central and Eastern Europe.’ The researchers confirmed results from other coaching studies and amplified that use of coaching was associated with higher level of productivity and lower level of employee turnover. It follows that employees who feel empowered and can see that their contributions are valued are more likely to stay in organisations.
How is this relevant to the regulatory space? The ability to adapt and adjust, at pace, to evolving requirements and work environments is fundamental within the regulatory landscape. But resilience and capability to adapt and adjust in this way is not second nature to everyone. Coaching added to leadership helps you build this capability within each of your team members and your organisation.
In my experience, my teams have reacted more proactively and creatively to regulatory challenges where they have been managed in a more coaching style of leadership. In these scenarios, I have seen them take more ownership of their actions and be much more effective in their roles.
Coaching in Leadership
The core premise of coaching is to help an individual develop their potential by keeping an open mind to new options and possibilities. The coach does this by using a range of thought-provoking and creative techniques. This gives employees opportunities to develop their self-confidence to stretch beyond their comfort zone so they can achieve their goals and conquer challenges.
Coaching leadership introduces a new dynamic into teams and organisations through the evolution of performance potential and the optimisation efficiency and effectiveness. The leader applies coaching techniques to individual employees and also to teams of employees.
“Coaching is unlocking people’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.”
John Whitmore, a pioneer in the field of coaching
Check Your Coaching Leadership style
Whether you are already a coaching leader or if you haven’t yet incorporated coaching leadership into your leading, here are 5 key elements critical to being a coaching leader:
- Bring ALL of you to the conversation, avoiding distractions and ensuring you are fully present.
- Consider, are you ACTIVELY listening? If not, neither party will benefit fully from the exchange.
- KEEP your time commitments with your coachee and do not rush the conversation.
- Be OPEN and use open-ended questions to encourage continuous development and alternative thought patterns.
- ALLOW the coachee to experiment, giving the opportunity to learn by doing.
All Levels Benefit from Coaching Leaders
Individuals benefit from coaching leadership’s continuous development because they are being invested in, they are being heard, and they are trusted with more of the “how to” and less of the “go do.” Coaching unlocks an individual’s potential by developing self-awareness of thought patterns and how to explore opportunities in different scenarios. In my experience, I have seen this build coachee confidence and increase their sense of self-reliance.
Coached teams change in their dynamic, performing from a combined understanding of their collective and individual strengths and an awareness of how they can work as a high-performing unit. Teams become cohesive units who problem-solve in a more creative way and rely less on old style “command and control” management models. As a result, teams become more resilient to change and have increased adaptability to evolving situations and environments.
Coaching leaders benefit because we are no longer drawn into situations where we wonder, “Why am I being asked to be involved?” We have more available time for strategic and significant business. When you invest time in coaching your team members, teams will be more confident and self-reliant from realising increased empowerment and a capability to resolve more issues without requiring your direction or pre-approval.
The organisation benefits as well. As more individuals and teams apply coaching techniques, a culture of coaching builds across an organisation, which in turn brings a more effective working culture of collaboration, trust, creativity, and increased motivation and morale.
Specifically, for the regulatory environment, the ability for organisations to continue to grow in these areas is critical. The complexity and layers of regulations, laws, and procedures make it difficult for new employees to feel empowered or to have the confidence to take actions forward without approval. Coaching leadership supports employees by providing a more open dialogue regarding the areas where employees can be more empowered and take a leap of faith.
As a coaching leader you can ensure empowered, confident employees and teams by putting into practice the 5 key elements.
During my career I have seen the benefits to individuals, teams and their leaders from both formal coaching programmes, and from more informal but continued coaching style conversations from leaders. Every step of coaching leadership moves coachees along a new continuum of empowerment and learning. It builds an environment and culture, balancing management support and individual growth for an organisation’s most valuable resources – your EMPLOYEES.
We hope that you have found this article informative and some of the points have resonated with you and your organisation’s current challenges. Eiger Regulatory Partners would be delighted to discuss this with you further. Please contact us to discuss.