A Coaching Power Tool Created by Samanjit Seely
(Leadership Coach, THAILAND)
What’s the story?
Two years ago, I received an email from my boss that I got promoted—starting the next year, I was responsible for the business performance and the role of developing and making people grow in their careers. The first feeling that hit me was being very excited and feeling accomplished with what I had done in the past few years. At the same time, a second feeling hit me right away, how could I manage all of that? I needed to be responsible for the well-being and success of a team and balance my time to deliver the best quality service to clients. What happened if I made the wrong decision or took a wrong turn? All of these questions spun around in my head. Before, when I was a follower, it was very easy to look to someone else to make the big decisions and create direction. I discussed this with my boss; she suggested that I empower and inspire the team and them to work and create the best performance by themselves. It sounded great and easy, but how could I create that kind of environment?
The challenge of a first-time leader is to balance time to focus both on the business performance. They also need to assure the quality of the outcomes and encourage the team to develop themselves to perform their best in their role. As a new manager or leader, we know that empowering people is the key, but I can’t stop myself from being a micromanager or doubt other people’s decisions. Sometimes we might not show them enough that we trusted them to handle some vital project, and in the end, my team was suffering from burnout, and we feel tired all the time. That was the starting point for me to think about having a coach to help me think about the new approach and develop trust to motivate the team to learn and challenge them to do things differently.
Empowering vs. Inspiring
As a coach, we help the leader create their own leadership style to create the team they want to have. The team should set their own goals, create action plans and evaluate themselves. Those steps will not mean anything if the leader could not create an environment where the team members feel empowered and inspiring in their work and willing to do things beyond the current stage.
The words”Empowering” and “Inspiring” (Empowering vs. Inspiring) are definitive words for leaders and managers. They are wonderful and powerful words, but how do people realize the difference between these two words. Let us start by defining these two similar words.
This word means”to give someone the official authority or the freedom to do something.” The empowering leader is the leader who can delegate authority, give the tools, and allow the employees to decision-making by themselves. The challenge for the leader is to make the employees feel empowered at work. For example, when we give the tools to employees to accomplish their tasks and routines. That person might only take responsibility for what they have been assigned or the individual goal. If the authority and the responsibility do not come together, it might demotivate the employees.
This word means”to infuse into the mind; to communicate to the spirit; to convey, as by a divine or supernatural influence; to disclose preternaturally; to produce in, as my inspiration.”A leader who inspires others is a person who is value-driven with a sense of purpose and responsibility. They drive the members to achieve higher echelons professionally and personal excellence. Inspirational leaders know themselves well and have a clear understanding of what they value and motivates them.
The application is to coach the clients who provide the direction and authority to people to make decisions and inspire employees to challenge, think, and work out of their comfort zone. It is the opportunity for the coach to help the clients explore the leadership style that they have and select the strength and capability that they want to develop. Both the awareness, mindset, own beliefs and frame of thinking, and the way the client’s learning new things give the client the space to pause, rethink, and re-select again.
Through coaching, the process supports the leaders to explore their own beliefs and frame of thinking. Each leader’s experience in the past will build their own beliefs and frame of thinking in the present and the future. To support the leaders to rethink and re-select the capability and leadership style they want to have, the coach will have to have a coach’s presence while listening and creating trust through direct communication and powerful questions that will help the leader to think deeply. After a leader explores themself, the most critical part is that the leader sets goals that they want to change. These changes will create a new way of thinking and an action plan with the awareness of how the leader will utilize this learning in other situations to help them cope with changes and create challenges for the future.
- What do you want to do here?
- What are the things that you want to achieve?
- What skills do you want to develop?
- What does it take to be successful?
- What are the resources that will help you to do your job well?
- How would you do this differently?
- How would you do this more efficiently?
- What and where do you consider it went wrong, and what would you suggest as the appropriate correction for the future?
- What else can I do to support you to achieve your goal?
- What are the success factors for your goal?
- Has the company set you up to succeed?
- What does teamwork look like to you?
- Who do you want to get to know better in the company?
- How would you create a work environment that employees find motivating?
- What kind of role model for your team that you want to be?
- Would you be willing to share your solution with the rest of the team?
- What kind of support from your manager will push you to your next level?
- What is the new solution to help you and the teamwork better?
Motivation is essential for leaders and their employees. Inspiration awakens us to try to do new things and explore new possibilities. It allows us to change and transform ourselves to act and be better. Sometimes the inspiration is overlooked daily because of busy routines and many urgent and important things happening all the time. For inspiration to be created, the situation where people and questions help employees rethink the meaning of their life and career needs to occur. Such influence comes from their leaders, colleagues, and their coaches. Such inspiration might include observing that person’s value, listening to who that person is, and what is meaningful in that person’s life and work. Also, the questions will help people to pause and rethink again.
- What is your biggest dream in life?
- What motivates you to go to work every day?
- What goals, including career goals, have you set for your life?
- How would you define success in your career?
- What is the most meaningful part of your job?
- What part of your job are you most passionate about?
- Where do you want to be in ten years?
- What inspires you to be successful in your role every day?
- When do you have the most fun at work?
- What would motivate you to stay at our company for the next 5 years?
- What makes you excited to work and complete your tasks?
- What motivates you to go to work every day?
- What company values are inspiring you to work here?
- Which company value would you like to embody more?
- What kind of communication in the organization that you want to create?
- What type of leader do you want to be to create better culture?
- Do you feel comfortable speaking your mind at this company?
- What do you enjoy the most about our company culture?
Even though all the leaders know that empowerment and inspiration are essential for team growth and better performance, empowerment is more tangible. Tangible results are countable, easy to see in action and make the leaders or managers have much less stress. While inspiring someone is intangible, the results are uncountable, takes time, and require many communication skills. Many leaders and managers may or may not take the time or effort to inspire the team.
Without inspiration, people cannot do something beyond the current stage and go far in their life. Both empowering and inspiring are essential for leaders to create a team that can take ownership and learns from their mistakes. True inspiration will help the team not stop trying to find new ways and better solutions.
We know what it takes to become a good leader and empower and inspire people, but in reality, we have to face a hectic schedule and challenges every day. Coaches are needed to help the leaders create time to think and evaluate good questions by looking at things differently. Coaches can help leaders pause and rethink their interactions to influence what they really want to create by balancing empowerment and inspiration in the people around them.
Peter Harms. (2018, June 8). Motivating Your Employees. Linkedin. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/motivating-your-employees-peter-harms/
Kiely Kuligowski. (2019,Feb 16). Characteristics of a Good Leader: Tips for New Managers. Business News Daily. https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/6456-new-manager-tips.html
Allan Lee, Sara Willis, and Amy Wei Tian. (2018,March 02). When Empowering Employees Works, and When It Doesn’t. hbr.org. https://hbr.org/2018/03/when-empowering-employees-works-and-when-it-doesnt