The world is changing – fast.

Today’s business environment is competitive and constantly changing, and leaders need to consider this fast-paced change as they adapt their leadership style to suit the conditions. In the words of Sue Langley, “whilst a command and control style of leadership may have worked once upon a time, it doesn’t work anymore.”

What is effective leadership?

Leadership is the action of leading employees to achieve goals and plays a very important role in employee performance and productivity. Yet in order to innovate, grow, collaborate and drive performance and productivity in this changing business landscape, leaders need to do more than manage others well. They need to build the skills to develop themselves and their teams to build competitive advantage for the organisation.

Creating a balanced working environment where people, productivity and profits thrive is a significant component of success and this is where coaching comes in.

What is coaching and what is its connection to leadership?

Coaching is a powerful and proven method of providing individual support that can accelerate the journey towards success. Coaching helps people deepen their awareness of their strengths and cultivate the practical wisdom to achieve the best outcomes and be the best they can be.

Coaching is a partnership, as well as a tough, analytical business tool that enables leaders and their teams to discuss performance (success, failure and opportunity), honestly and openly. It focuses on unlocking someone’s potential, whilst empowering them to take responsibility for their actions and their growth.

In contrast to performance management, which is often used as a corrective action to improve performance or address behavioural challenges, coaching is a proactive and goal-directed process. It is built on the assumption that the coachee is resourceful and has potential, and can motivate themselves to see solutions.

In an internal review by Google, analysis revealed that ‘being a good coach’ was one of the seven top qualities of their outstanding employees (1). Coaching is critical for employees to continually develop their skills, yet the Australian Institute of Management’s latest Leadership survey shows there is a 31% performance gap between how much coaching and mentoring managers think they are providing, and what the employees report receiving. (2)

We need leaders who are emotionally intelligent and able to model and champion co-operative working. They’ll coach rather than command; they’ll be driven by empathy, not ego. The digital revolution needs a different, more human kind of leadership”

Professor Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of the World Economic Forum.

What are the benefits of building coaching into your leadership?

Adding coaching to your leadership toolkit will help you to successfully create plans, shape the future, and guide and develop your team’s skills.  If you can build a coaching culture within a team, coupled with the relevant skills and behaviour, it may even create the ability for a team to operate without the leader’s input.

Coaching within an organisation can bring the following benefits:

  • Talent retention and boosted morale
  • Effective leadership
  • Team cohesion
  • Culture change and agility
  • Performance management

Research from the University of Wollongong in Australia shows that improvements in productivity, engagement and customer service can be traced back to manager coaching. One particular organisation improved customer service by 450% within five months of introducing manager coaching. (3)

In its essence, coaching is about helping people develop their skills, improve their performance, and enhance their wellbeing – all key skills for leadership in an uncertain and changing world.

“What really great leaders do is they see their people as being potentially resourceful and help to build those capacities.”

Dr. Robert Biswas-Diener



  1. The surprising thing Google learned about its employees – and what it means for today’s students, 2017 The Washington Post
  2. The State of Australian Leadership, Australian Institute of Management, 2019
  3. McCarthy, G. & Milner, J. (2013). Managerial coaching: challenges, opportunities and training. Journal of Management Development, 32 (7), 768-779.