Below is one of the Wisdom from the Field examples adapted from my new book, Leading Like a C.O.A.C.H. Pre-order today!
Education is not the only profession where leading like a coach is recommended.
In an article for Harvard Business Review1, Herminia Ibarra and Anne Scoular argue that a direct approach to business leadership is no longer effective in a highly complex world.
As they note:
“Rapid, constant, and disruptive change is now the norm, and what succeeded in the past is no longer a guide to what will succeed in the future. Twenty-first century managers simply don’t (and can’t!) have all the right answers.”
They recommend leaders “give support and guidance rather than instructions” to be a more effective entrepreneur and supervisor.
Leading in Complex Times
As the article shared in last week’s discussion thread noted, this is likely the toughest school year ever for educators.
Teachers are still trying to manage both virtual and in-person instruction.
With the contentiousness of safety protocols, district leaders are guaranteed to make someone unhappy as they seek to keep everyone safe.
Students’ needs sometimes exceed a school’s available resources.
Because it is impossible to have all the answers or to be everywhere at once, a school leader’s role has to focus on building the capacity of everyone else to lead as well.
This is what coaching is about: not just giving feedback for improvement, but also developing the knowledge and skills necessary for independence and interdependence.
Sometimes the best coaching move is to support the learner’s ability to coach themselves. With that, think about a time you did not have an immediate answer to a teacher’s request or question.
Did you pause, or give yourself permission to acknowledge that you did not have an answer at that time?
If yes to the first question, how did that time or honesty allow for the teacher to create a response themselves? Was it successful?
If no to the first question, how might a pause or an honest acknowledgement have provided that teacher with the possibility for self-directedness?
How does this information validate your interest in leading more like a coach?