Research Paper By Ndèye Seck Sanchez
(Professional Coach, SENEGAL)
Many people wish to be leaders in their professional lives. However, as a result of obstacles they face, usually internal, they have a tendency to behave more like spectators than like actors. They struggle to achieve their objective of becoming leaders at work and do not fully attain their professional potential, which has an impact on many other areas of their lives. People who are dissatisfied at work are often stressed and frustrated. Since many people spend most of their time at work, it is crucial that they do their best to be fulfilled professionally.
This research paper acknowledges that not all people aspire to be leaders and respects such a choice. It is important to emphasize that it concerns those who wish to become leaders but have difficulties achieving their goal. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how coaching can be a tool that empowers such people to become leaders in their professional lives.
First, professional leadership will be defined. The levels of leadership, the characteristics of leaders and leadership types will then be explained. Finally, the paper will discuss the importance of being a leader and how coaching can empower people to become leaders.
Definition of Leadership
If ten people were asked to define leadership, they would most probably give ten different answers. In books and on the internet, one can easily find fifty definitions that differ. In this paper, leadership will be defined as the art of motivating people towards a goal.
The terms leadership and management very often lead to confusion and are used incorrectly as synonyms. Consequently, it is necessary to clarify both concepts. Generally, a manager is by definition a leader. However, the opposite does not always prove to be right, i.e. a leader is not automatically a manager. Indeed, the leader may influence his/her environment without having any managerial skills. On the other hand, the manager whose responsibility namely involves planning, organizing, staffing, directing and staff development must have some level of leadership as described in the following section.
The Five Levels of Leadership
In his book Developing the Leader Within You, John C. Maxwell (Maxwell, 1993) indicates that leadership is influence. He explains that the ability to lead and to influence people involves five (05) levels as listed below:
- Position, the basic level of leadership: it is the influence one exercises that results from his/her title.
- Relationships, the second level of leadership: it is getting people to work for you when they are not obligated to do so.
- Results, the third level of leadership: profits increase, morale is high, turnover is low and goals are reached.
- People development, the fourth level of leadership: it is the ability to empower and develop people.
- Person-hood, the last and highest level of leadership: it is when leaders reach a complete level of satisfaction as leaders. Most leaders do not reach this level because it takes a lifetime of proven leadership.