Leadership skills are different than business skills -
but are indispensable to business success.
Leadership skills are a distinct and critically important set of competencies that are different from the subject matter skills a leader has in his or her particular industry.
For example, a business executive may have mastered financial planning, marketing, and operations, but if he or she does not also have robust leadership skills alongside the business skills, his or her leadership effectiveness will be greatly diminished. The same is true of every profession and industry, including law, medicine, and non-profit management.
“The most effective leaders are all alike in one crucial way: they all have a high degree of what has come to be known as emotional intelligence. It’s not that IQ and technical skills are irrelevant. They do matter, but…they are the entry-level requirements for executive positions. My research, along with other recent studies, clearly shows that emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership. Without it, a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but [he or she] still won’t make a great leader.”
from “What Makes a Leader”,
by Daniel Goleman, Ph.D.
Published by Harvard Business Review
Research On Leadership EffectivenessIs Clear:
- Leadership Effectiveness is driven first and foremost by the leader’s “inner game”:
- What drives them, how they define themselves, what is important to them, and what they believe.
- Leadership Effectiveness is a primary contributor to business performance:
- Data strongly suggest that when a leader improves his or her leadership effectiveness, he or she has a 38% probability of seeing that improvement translate into higher business performance.
In a landmark study in the area of leadership development, researcher David McClelland found that when senior managers had a critical mass of emotional intelligence capabilities, their divisions outperformed yearly earnings goals by 20%.
“I’ve had the good fortune to work with Ben individually and in a group setting – both amazing experiences.
My one-on-one coaching with him has been transformative. Based upon my coaching experience I invited Ben to facilitate our board of directors’ annual retreat and strategic planning meeting. By the end of the day we all came away with a clear understanding of our individual and collective strengths (as well as our blind spots), and more deeply connected with one another.
Ben’s approach is calm, supportive, knowledgeable, humorous (right when it’s needed!), and insightful.
I highly recommend him for both coaching and group leadership facilitation.”
There are specific leadership competencies that lead to leadership success.
Research conducted by The Leadership Circle (Anderson and Adams) has identified five key categories of leadership competencies. Their data indicate that for every improvement in one of these key areas, there is a nearly one-to-one increase in leadership effectiveness, which is, in turn, highly correlated with business success. The five categories are:
Achieving – ability to both envision and obtain concrete results
Systems Awareness – ability to think and design systemically
Authenticity – willingness to act with integrity and honesty, even when doing so is risky
Self-Awareness – balance and composure that result from a deep and nuanced understanding and ownership of one’s personality, including strengths and weaknesses
Relating – capability to relate well to others, build teams, collaborate, and develop other people
Coaching develops leadership skills.
Leaders are, of course, first and foremost, human beings. While leaders may cognitively know and understand the importance of the leadership skills discussed above, it is nearly impossible to be fully objective about how they are living into those skills, including how others may perceive them as a leader.
Leadership coaching provides a private and creative space for leaders to learn about and process their leadership effectiveness with a trained and trusted coach who can be a sounding board, accountability partner, and collaborator with the client around what is working and needs to be more fully leveraged, what needs to improve, and how to take targeted action accordingly. Further, because coaching is a dynamic and iterative process, the coach walks alongside the client as he or she develops a new and deeper capacity to lead well by gaining new insights and practicing new ways of being. In short, coaching closes the critical gap between the leader knowing what needs to be done, and actually doing what needs to be done in an effective and lasting way.
How Coaching Works:
Coaching is a client-centered process and therefore varies from client to client, but the basic process is as follows:
We always stop to hear where our clients are when they come to coaching. Because most of our clients have already been very successful professionally, they sometimes have gotten into a rut where they habitually think and behave in ways that have worked up until now, but are no longer helping them flourish or take things to the next level. They may not really know themselves well, including their core strengths, motivations, or weaker areas that get in their way. To help us and our clients understand where they are when they come to coaching, we typically use one or more of three tools that we are certified to administer at Benjamin Papa, LLC:
Leadership Circle Profile
After learning who and where are client is, early in coaching, the client articulates a particular goal or commitment he or she wants to make the focus of their coaching. The Coach works with the client to develop powerful, oftentimes life-changing, commitments so that when the client lives into their commitment through the coaching process, their life and work are impacted in a meaningful and lasting way.
Part of what makes coaching unique and effective is its focus on action, in addition to deepening learning. Many people cognitively know things about themselves, but have a difficult time moving from that head-based knowing to actually living into a better life for themselves. We work with our clients to learn to consistently access all three intelligence centers that are available to them – thinking, feeling, and doing – in a synergistic and productive way that allows them to implement real and lasting change in their lives. We help clients choose manageable action steps along the way that are specifically targeted to support the client’s work and we then walk with them as a guide and supportive accountability partner.