The challenges have never been greater for anyone who must achieve results through people. Ferocious change, flatter structures and new technologies have all conspired to render old style leadership by command totally irrelevant. If we continue to attempt to solve 21st Century problems with 19th century solutions, the chances of failure are high.
Organisations are finding that the tired old rhetoric of ‘people are our greatest asset’ really is true. Install a new piece of equipment or IT system and your rivals can have the same in place by the following month. Secure some capital and you’ll likely find that the competition had their money secured several weeks earlier. In the age of the knowledge worker competitive advantage surely lays in the capacity to have employees happily performing at their best over the long term.
Furthermore, it is no longer possible to develop people only by passing on other’s wisdom. This is the orthodox approach to training and development but it is flawed. It assumes that the reason for less than peak performance must be due to a lack of certain knowledge or skills. However, it ignores the crucial role that attitude or state of mind plays in performing any task. Most of us can call to mind several examples of people with seemingly all the knowledge and skills they could ever need but who for some reason seem unable or unwilling to translate this into high performance.
What is needed then is a method for realising potential, for enabling people to perform at their very best. As traditional structures have disappeared, people now want and need to be empowered to find their own way and to access their creativity and flair. These are crucial qualities but they cannot be taught. They have to be nurtured.
I believe that coaching is fast becoming the key to business success in the 21st Century, and will be a vital leadership skill for decades.
When leaders understand and apply coaching, astonishing things can happen
People relish change and move things forward at pace. Apathy disappears and is replaced by energy and enthusiasm People consistently perform at their peak and achieve amazing results and their organisations waste fewer resources and generate more income.
Whilst many of my posts deal with the specifics of the coaching approach, I make no apologies for returning to writing about core coaching principles from time to time. Without an understanding of these principles all the coaching techniques in the world are useless.