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Skills Good Leaders Need

Perhaps the most important skill a leader needs is to be able to think


strategically.
Leadership is all about having a vision of where you want to be and working
to achieve that vision.
See our page on Strategic Thinking Skills for more.

Alongside strategic thinking go organising and action planning, both


essential for delivery of your vision and strategy, and risk management to
help you avoid things going wrong, and manage when they do.
Leaders also need to be able to make good decisions in support of their
strategy delivery.
Along the way to achieving their vision a leader will come upon many
problems.
Effective problem solving is therefore another key leadership skill. With a
positive attitude, problems can become opportunities and learning
experiences, and a leader can gain much information from a problem
addressed.
Leaders also need to be very organised on a personal level, and able to
manage themselves and their time, so that they can spend time doing what
they need to do, and not on other tasks.
As well as organising their time and their teams, leaders need to spend a bit
of time on themselves, and particularly on their self-motivation. A leader who
lacks self-motivation will struggle to motivate others, as people are quick to
detect a lack of sincerity.

What is a Leader?
Ever since we learnt to speak and work together, certain members of the race have
sought to become leaders. So why is it that, here in the 21st Century, there are
still so many questions and still so much debate about what a leader is and does?
This page defines what is meant by the term 'leader. We demonstrate how we are
all capable of being a leader today or tomorrow. Even if only for today or tomorrow.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines a leader (in human terms) as:

the person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country: the


leader of a protest group a natural leader

(also Leader of the House) British a member of the government officially


responsible for initiating business in Parliament.

In either case there is a degree of formality about it:

A whole organisation accepts one person as its leader

By virtue of that badge of rank, the leader has formal authority and power.

However, there are three likely dangers in this view:


1. Organisations come in many shapes and sizes; political parties,
governments, charities, businesses or families.
By inference, if an organisation has only one leader, that person alone is the
source of all ideas. That person alone is the maker of all decisions. The rest
of the organisation must, therefore, be followers; sheep, who take no
initiative and make no decisions. These people are also free of responsibility
for outcomes of their actions.
This presents a big problem for the organisation as a whole and followers as
individuals;
o

There is no synergy,

There is little initiative

There is little incentive for anyone to do anything good save follow


orders.

There is little reason for people to not do bad things so long as they
are within the letter of the law.

2. Since the concept of a leader is a 'job title', the leader must be the
one leading every minute of every day.
He or she may not be less than perfect at any time. This presents a big
problem for the leader. He or she must be right every time. He or she must
also be seen to be right every time. The leader must be morally and
technically infallible. He or she is always on a pedestal. Each and every act
and word (business and personal) is subject to scrutiny and being judged by
all.
Sadly this kind of infallibility is not a constant for any human being; we are all
idiots some of the time. To err is human.
3. The longer a formal leader is in post, the greater the gap between
the leader and the led becomes.
The leader becomes less tolerant of independent thought, and the led
become less capable of it. At this point, if it is to survive After the Leader,
an organisation has to look seriously at succession planning. Sadly that
succession planning is still the responsibility of the leader (otherwise it is
likely to be interpreted as mutiny).
The past has showed time and again that:

Families with a commanding father or mother can tend to be dysfunctional.

Nations with a cult of personality around a single great helmsman tend to


suffer in the long run.

Companies which are ruled by the iron hand of their founder are lost when
the founder dies or is shown to have had feet of clay.

Modern Definitions of 'Leader'


Fredrik Arnander, in his 2013 book We Are All Leaders, suggests a different
approach. His stated vision is;-

We are all leaders. Leadership is not a position, it is a mindset

Fredrik Arnander
Why is Arnander proposing this difference of opinion?
To build organisations with the agility and focus to succeed in the modern business
world
Clearly it is vital for any organisation that initiative, ideas, authority, decision
making, liability, respect and kudos be shared out to each according to his needs
and from each according to his ability.
It is not the aim of this piece to address leadership as a series of traits or
behaviours; however it is not possible to divide leaders from leadership.
In an article in Nigerias Premium Times, Bamidele Ademola-Olateju states:
A leader goes in the front, leads the way and by his actions; people follow.
This is in contrast to a ruler; rulers rule by the use of their power and authority,
backing this up if necessary with heavy handedness. The piece refers to leaders
and rulers in a national sense. However, the same can be said for people at the top
of any organisation, be it political, commercial or even religious.
Therefore for anyone to claim to actually be a leader, as opposed to being The
Leader, he or she must have real followers. These are people who follow out of
choice, rather than compulsion.
A leader may rise to a state where people follow them for many years and through
various incarnations. A fine example is the late, Nelson Mandela, who moved from
personal commitment to small scale political activism to national presidency to
world statesmanship. Mandela embodied a vision and commitment for many years.
In contrast to the previous quote, Mandela prefered to think of a leader, leading
from behind.
It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you
celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is
danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership

Nelson Mandela
A leader may also emerge from the crowd for just a few moments.

This could be a serious matter or an entirely frivolous one. For instance, a young
woman named Claire Pepper was knocked down whilst cycling in London. She was
injured and trapped beneath the car, unable to breathe due to the weight pressing
down on her chest. A single passer-by took a leader role straight away. He gathered
nine others who became his followers and together they lifted the car from on top of
Claire, saving her life until the medics arrived. After the panic was over the
individual ceased to be a leader and melted back into the crowd.
On a less serious note, an example of 'frivolous leadership'. Derek Sivers uploaded a
video on YouTube entitled Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy, which clearly
shows how a person can, with no particular vision, and certainly no rhetoric or
verbal communication, be a leader in style or fashion.
Leadership Styles
There are many different models of leadership styles, from those that look at how
much control you want to others based around potential.
One of the best-known models is Daniel Golemans Six Leadership Styles. Goleman
is probably best known for his work on Emotional Intelligence, but he also carried
out a ground-breaking study on leadership, published in the Harvard Business
Review in 2000 as Leadership that Gets Results.
Based on a three-year study of over 3,000 executives, Daniel Goleman identified six
different leadership styles:

Coercive (or Commanding)

Pace-setting

Authoritative

Affiliative

Democratic

Coaching

Six Leadership Styles


01
Coercive leaders demand immediate obedience.
In a single phrase, this style is Do what I tell you.

These leaders show initiative, self-control, and drive to succeed. There is, of course,
a time and a place for such leadership: a battlefield is the classic example, but any
crisis will need clear, calm, commanding leadership. This style does not, however,
encourage anyone else to take the initiative, and often has a negative effect on how
people feel.
02
Pace-setting leaders expect excellence and self-direction.
This style can be summed up as Do as I do, now.
The Pace-setter very much leads by example, but this type of leadership only works
with a highly-competent and well-motivated team. It can only be sustained for a
while without team members flagging. Like the Coercive leader, Pace-setters also
show drive to succeed and initiative, but instead of self-control, these are coupled
with conscientiousness.
03
Authoritative leaders move people towards a vision
This style is probably best summed up as Come with me.
These leaders are visionary and it's the most useful style when a new vision or clear
direction is needed, and is most strongly positive. Authoritative leaders are high in
self-confidence and empathy, acting as a change catalyst by drawing people into
the vision and engaging them with the future.
04
An affiliative leader values and creates emotional bonds and harmony.
Affiliative leaders believe that People come first.
Such leaders demonstrate empathy, and strong communication skills, and are very
good at building relationships. This style is most useful when a team has been
through a difficult experience, and needs to heal rifts, or develop motivation. It is
not a very goal-oriented style, so anyone using it will need to make sure others
understand that the goal is team harmony, and not specific tasks. It is probably
obvious from this that it cannot be used on its own for any length of time if you
need to get the job done.
05
The democratic leader builds consensus through participation.
Democratic leaders are constantly asking What do you think?.

Such leaders show high levels of collaboration, team leadership and strong
communication skills. This style of leadership works well in developing ownership
for a project, but it can make for slow progress towards goals, until a certain amount
of momentum has built up. Anyone wishing to use this style will need to make sure
that senior managers are signed up to the process, and understand that it may take
time to develop the consensus.
06
A coaching leader will develop people.
The phrase that sums up this leadership style is Try it
Coaching leaders allow people to try different approaches to problem solving and
achieving a goal in an open way. The coaching leader shows high levels of empathy,
self-awareness and skills in developing others. A coaching style is especially useful
when an organisation values long-term staff development.

An Alternative Model of Leadership Behaviours

There are many other models of leadership. For example, in his book, Inspirational
Leadership, Richard Olivier takes the story of Shakespeares Henry V as the

ultimate leadership textbook. He outlines a four-part model of leadership which


chimes remarkably well with Golemans empirical findings.
Olivier divides the world into static and dynamic, and masculine and feminine
energies, so that the four possible positive leadership potentials are:

Static Masculine (the Good King, creating and valuing order)

Static Feminine (the Great Mother, nurturing those around her)

Dynamic Masculine (the Warrior, favouring action)

Dynamic Feminine (the Medicine Woman, important in change)

While these titles may seem rather fanciful, its not hard to see that the Good King
would fit with Golemans Democratic style, the Great Mother with Coaching and
Affiliative, the Warrior clearly with the Coercive and Pacesetting styles, and the
Medicine Woman with Authoritative leadership.

Developing Your Leadership Style


Each one of us has a preferred leadership style, usually the one to which we default
in times of stress. One of the easiest ways to work out which is your default is to see
what sort of things you say when stressed. Are you the person saying What do you
think? or is it Right, well do it my way and now!?
The most effective leaders do not use just one style, but are able to move between
styles, choosing the one that best suits the situation.

Once you know your preferred style, you can start to develop the others. For
example, if you are naturally a democratic or affiliative leader, you may find that it
difficult to take command or swift action in a crisis. You will need to find a way to
adopt the Commanding or Coercive style in a way that feels true to you, perhaps by
injecting some humour into your orders.

One advantage of looking at several alternative models of leadership is that one or


other may give you a clearer idea of how to move between the possible styles.
Oliviers premise is that Henry V, as a leader, moves between all these styles in the
course of the play. Studying how he does so can be a surprisingly insightful
experience into day-to-day leadership. It may be some comfort to understand that
even Henry had to work hard to develop his leadership style beyond Warrior.

Follow our six-step approach to developing your leadership style.


A Final Thought
Although many people think of leadership as being a work skill, there are plenty of
opportunities for using different leadership styles at home.
Your family may well be a safer sounding board for trying out new ideas than some
of your less-tolerant colleagues, especially as you experiment with styles that are
further away from your natural one, and therefore feel difficult.
However, persevere, flex your leadership muscles in safe situations, and you will
almost certainly find yourself using your new skills naturally and confidently for
real when you need them.
Ethical Leadership
When reading about big business or perhaps banking, it can sometimes seem that
leadership in large commercial organisations means working outside normal ethics
and beliefs, and operating in some kind of parallel world, where the only value that
matters is how much money youve made. The end justifies the means, goes the
saying.
More and more businesses and other organisations are recognising the value of
ethical leadership: leadership which depends on navigation by moral compass.
And many people are also commenting that we might not be in quite the same
global economic position had a few more people behaved more ethically.
Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, argues that
leadership based on principles is not just a good thing, but essential.
He says that effective people live their lives and manage their relationships not
around priorities but according to a series of natural laws, such as fairness, justice
and integrity.
These values have underpinned life, both personal and business, for thousands of
years, and continue to be crucial.
Four Levels of Principle-Centred Leadership
Covey identifies four levels of principle-centred leadership, each with a central
principle.
These levels are:

Personal, where the central principle is trustworthiness;

Interpersonal, where the central principle is trust;

Managerial, where the central principle is empowerment; and

Organisational, where the central principle is alignment.

The personal is about your relationship with yourself, and trustworthiness is how
far you can be trusted by others.
It depends on two inter-related elements, your character, or what you are like, and
your competence, how good you are at what you do. It makes sense that both
aspects are important, because it doesnt really matter how strong your character is
if you are not competent to deliver what youve promised.
The interpersonal level is about your relationships with others, and trust develops
from trustworthiness.
It is probably not too strong a statement to assert that trust is at the heart of every
strong, successful relationship, whether personal or business, and that trust, or lack
of it, also underpins most human interactions.
The managerial level is about how you work with those you manage, and
particularly about empowerment. When you trust people, you dont control them or
supervise them. They control and supervise themselves: they are empowered.
Finally, the organisational level is about the structure of the whole organisation.
It may be easier to think first about an organisation where employees are not
trusted: there is close control by management, constant supervision and checkingin, and employees have to report back frequently on what theyre doing. As a result,
managers cannot manage many people directly, so the span of control is very
small.
By contrast then, an organisation where employees are trusted is usually flat rather
than hierarchical, and with wide spans of control. Individuals within the organisation
are trusted to do their jobs well, and without constant supervision: they are aligned.
These four levels are inter-dependent. Each is necessary but not sufficient, and a
problem that superficially seems to be at one particular level is likely to need to be
worked on at all four at the same time.

Leadership Trait Theory

Leadership trait theory is one of the earliest theories of leadership, which can be
traced back to Thomas Carlyles 1849 assertion that the history of the world was
the biography of great men.
It is the idea that there are certain inborn traits that make people more likely to
succeed as leaders: in essence, it states that leaders are born, not made.

Early research on leadership looked at what distinguished leaders from followers, on


the assumption that those who had emerged as leaders were likely to have more
leadership traits than their followers.
Many studies found that there was not much difference between the two groups,
which they put down to errors in selecting leaders. However, since the purpose of
identifying leadership traits was to make it easier to identify potential leaders, this
lack of difference was a bit worrying.
The popularity of trait theory has come and gone over the years. Up until the early
1950s, it was really the only theory of leadership that was considered valid.

Life Goals
It is important to remember, when thinking about what you would like to achieve in
your life, that change is inevitable. Your circumstances and priorities will change
through your life, you may realise, at the age of 40 that you are never going to be a
concert pianist as you had planned when you were 19. However if you take the
right steps from the age of 19 then there is nothing to stop you achieving this
potential goal.
When thinking about your lifetime goals, make them challenging and exciting, base
them on your strengths but make them relevant to you and ultimately achievable.
It may be useful to categorise life goals:

Academic goals what knowledge and/or qualifications do you want to


achieve?

Career goals where would you like your career to take you, what level do
you want to reach?

Monetary goals what do you aim to earn at given point in your life?

Ethical goals do you want to volunteer some of your time to a good cause
or get involved in local events, politics etc.?

Creative goals how do you want to progress creatively or artistically?

Domestic goals how would you like your domestic life to be in the future?

Physical goals do you want to develop you skill in a certain sport or other
physical activity?

Once you have thought about your life goals you can start to plan how best to
achieve them. Set yourself smaller goals for the future. In ten years I will be in
five years I will be etc. Work out plans of action with smaller and smaller subgoals until you can arrive at an action plan that you can start working on now.
Self-Motivation
Self-motivation is, in its simplest form, the force that drives you to do things.
Self-motivation is far from being a simple topic; there are many books, webpages
and articles that attempt to explain self-motivation and some top academics have
dedicated their lifes work to trying to understand, model and develop motivation
theory.
Self-motivation is a key life skill and something that everybody interested in
personal development should think carefully about.
Motivation pushes us to achieve our goals, feel more fulfilled and improve overall
quality of life. People who are self-motivated tend to be more organised, with good
time management skills and have more self-esteem and confidence.
Understanding and developing your self-motivation can help you to take control of
many other aspects of your life.
Creative Thinking Skills
How is it that some people always seem to be able to generate new ideas and think
creatively, and others seem to struggle to do so?
Regardless of whether you view yourself as a creative type or not, you can learn
some useful skills and techniques which will enable you to tap into that creative
right brain thinking and bring a new perspective to innovation, problem-solving
and managing change.
Although at first glance, creative thinking techniques may sometimes look a bit
ridiculous, there are good principles behind most of them. However sceptical you

may be about their potential, its a good idea to approach them with an open mind.
You may be surprised by the results.

Time Management Skills


Time management is not very difficult as a concept, but its surprisingly hard to do
in practice. It requires the investment of a little time upfront to prioritise and
organise yourself. But once done, you will find that with minor tweaks, your day,
and indeed your week and month, fall into place in an orderly fashion, with time for
everything you need to do.

Stay Calm and Keep Things In Perspective


Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to stay calm. Feeling
overwhelmed by too many tasks can be very stressful. Remember that the world
will probably not end if you fail to achieve your last task of the day, or leave it until
tomorrow, especially if you have prioritised sensibly.
Going home or getting an early night, so that you are fit for tomorrow, may be a
much better option than meeting a self-imposed or external deadline that may not
even matter that much.
Take a moment to pause and get your life and priorities into perspective, and you
may find that the view changes quite substantially!

Strategic Thinking Skills

Strategic thinking is often looked upon as something that only certain people can
do. Somehow, the idea of strategy and strategic thinking has developed a mystic
aura. The other side of the coin is that everyone who has leadership aspirations
includes strategic thinking skills on their CV and LinkedIn profile.

But what does 'strategic thinking' really mean, and how can you develop strategic
thinking skills?
What is Strategy?

In a military sense, strategy is defined by Chambers Dictionary as generalship, or


the art of conducting a campaign and manoeuvring an army.

Tactics is defined as the art of manoeuvring in the presence of the enemy.

In a business sense, strategy has therefore come to mean the long-term vision for
the future, and how you plan to get there, with tactics being what you do on a dayto-day basis that supports your strategy, and particularly how you deal with
problems.

Strategy, in its simplest sense, is deciding where you want to be and how youre
going to get there, and then taking the action necessary to do so. So what do you
need to do to develop a strategy?

It sounds obvious but, as a first step, you need to know where you are now.
Everything that you do starts from your current position. Even the Grand Old Duke
of York, whose skill in manoeuvring has gone down in history, or at least nursery
rhyme, couldnt move downhill until he had first moved up. So gather as much
information as you can about where you really are, and dont accept anecdote as
truth. Demand evidence.
Next, identify the ideal future position at a particular point in time. This could be
in five years, ten years or one years time, depending on the situation. There are
lots of tools out there for doing this in workshops, including visualisation, drawing
pictures, blue sky thinking and so on, but you can also just spend time thinking
about it. Its important to aim high at this stage, but also to be as detailed as

possible. The more detail you can include, the more you know what you want, which
is true as much at home as at work. Dont forget to include things that you really
dont want, as well as what you do want! Do write or draw, as its much more
concrete on paper.
Now, from your ideal future position, think about what is really important to you
or the company. Where do you or it really need to be? This is about prioritisation.
Pare your essential position down to the bones, so that you are really clear what is
crucial. Highlight the top three issues or elements, then the top five. Identify any
details which really dont matter. This is why you needed lots of detail at the last
step: you can now pick out which details are really important.
Now its time to work out the intermediate milestones from now to then. Now
you know where you need to be in five years time, where would you need to be in
one, two, or three years in order to get there? Concentrate on milestones rather
than actions, that is, things you will have achieved, rather than what youre going
to do in practical terms.
Finally, its time to work out actions: what you need to do to get from now to
your first intermediate milestone, then from there to the next and so on.

Organising Skills
See Also: Strategic Thinking.
How often have you said to yourself I really need to get organised? and then failed
to do so? Its a common problem.
Fortunately, there are a few simple things that you can do that will help you to
ensure that you get organised, and stay that way. And whats even better is that
these skills can be used at home or at work, and are equally useful in both.
Organising skills are really a combination of Time Management and Self-Motivation.
But if that sounds a bit daunting, its probably best to consider organisation in terms
of a series of steps that you can take.
1. Be clear about what you need to do.
If youre one of those people, like most of us, who struggles to remember
just what youve agreed to do or what you wanted to do if you had enough
time, then keep a list. If one list is not enough, then keep several. Some people
find that they work best with one single list, but others have a long-term To Do list,

supplemented by a daily Tasks list. Others also have a list of jobs for the week as
well. Its a matter of preference whether you use paper or electronic lists.
2. Decide when youre going to do it.
Research shows that our brains are hard-wired to worry about things that
we havent done, which is why you wake up in the night panicking about that
piece of work you forgot. Interestingly, however, putting a job on a To Do list and,
crucially, deciding when youre going to do it seems to be enough to switch off the
bit of your brain that worries, at least until youve missed the slot you had
identified.
3. Give yourself time and space.
Getting organised doesnt happen by chance. You need to give yourself
time to do it.
Take a bit of time each day to think about what youve got to do that day, and plan
when youre going to do it. Its best to do this either at the beginning of the day, or
at the end of the day for the next one. If you commute by train, you might find your
journey is the ideal time to do this, but if not, just take 10 minutes when you first
get into work, preferably away from your desk to avoid distractions.
If you struggle to find that time, schedule it into your diary. If your electronic
calendar is public, make sure you describe it in a way that your colleagues wont
immediately identify as time that can be used to come and talk to you. For
example, use initials, so that it looks like youve got a meeting, such as DSW, or
Do some work, and PMD or Plan my day. You know what it means, but nobody
else will. And LEAVE YOUR DESK. Go and sit in the canteen, or a quiet corner of a
meeting room, to avoid anyone talking to you, or the temptation to just check your
emails.
4. Decide what is important and what is urgent.
It is a delicate distinction, but everything can be separated into either urgent or not,
and important or not. Some things are both important and urgent. Others are
neither. Have a look at the Prioritisation section of our Time Management page for
more ideas about how to manage this.
5. Break down and delegate tasks.
Break tasks down into their component parts and consider whether you can
delegate any of them. Do you really need to do the whole task straight away? And
do you really need to do parts of them? It can sometimes take as much time to
delegate as to do the task, especially if its relatively quick to do, but could take a
while to explain. But if its relatively straightforward to explain, and simple but
long-winded to do, its an ideal task for delegation.

Take a look at our Delegation Skills page to learn how to delegate without losing
control. And, without procrastinating unnecessarily, consider whether you really
need to do it today, or if there is something else that is more important or urgent
that would be a better use of your time.
6. Dont get frustrated by extra tasks.
We all know how it feels... Youve just spent 10 minutes organising yourself, and
you get back to your desk to find an email from your boss telling you to drop
everything and just finish a report that has suddenly become the most important
and urgent issue in the world. Dont get cross or frustrated. At least you now know
whether you have anything else on your list which cant wait, and can negotiate
extended deadlines for other work from an informed point of view!
7. Stay on top of things.
Especially when youre very busy, its easy to let your daily organising
session slip. You just want to go home, or you really need to get on with
something else. But its important to keep on top of your scheduling and organising,
as otherwise everything gets in a real mess, and then it takes hours to untangle.
Coaching Skills

What are the essential skills that a good coach needs?


Whether youre a professional coach, a leader or manager using a coaching
approach to help your team members develop, or using your coaching skills in a
less-formal environment, there are a number of key skills that will help you to
become a great coach.
The most important attribute of any coach is that they want to help the person or
people they are coaching to learn. A good coach doesn't see themselves as an
expert able to fix all problems and having all the answers. Instead, they see
themselves as supporting the process of learning.
Other Key Coaching Skills and Attributes
Great coaches tend to have a number of key skills and attributes.
Coaches generally have high emotional intelligence: theyre good at understanding
and relating to people, and theyre interested in people. You have to genuinely want
to help others develop to become a really good coach. Its no good just paying lip
service to the idea. Coaches need to be able to show empathy and be good at
building relationships, including building rapport.

They also have strong communication skills.


Coaches are good at gathering information and then clarifying it for the person
being coached. They generally have strong listening skills, including active listening.
They dont jump in straight away with the answer but rather make sure that theyve
fully understood the issue by reflecting and clarifying. Similarly, coaches have
usually taken time to develop strong questioning skills. Its been said that coaches
should never offer opinions, but instead only ask questions to guide the person
being coached through the issue.
Coaches and coaching leaders give space and time for people to try things out.
They dont get over-excited or angry about mistakes, instead they concentrate on
how to recover the situation calmly and with the involvement of the person who
made the mistake. They are skilled at providing feedback and using tact and
diplomacy.
Coaches may also use various models of learning and thinking, such as MyersBriggs Type Indicators, and have training and expertise in various tools and
techniques, for example, psychometric testing or neuro-linguistic programming
(NLP).

Internal vs External Coaching


There are two main types of coaching relationship. The first is with an external
coach who is not part of the organisation or line management structure in any way.
The second is an internal coaching relationship, where a manager or leader acts as
a coach for their team. The two require different ways of working as coach, although
they share some similarities.

In an external relationship, the coach has no subject expertise and no


vested interest in the outcome of any decisions, except insofar as the person
being coached is pleased with the outcome of the coaching. They also have
no preconceived ideas about the person being coached: they probably dont
know them in a work context and have no idea of the quality of their work
performance.

In an internal relationship, however, the coach may well have a strong


vested interest in the quality of the decision-making, as well as knowing a lot
about the subject. They may well know the person being coached very well:
they may have been managing them for some time and have some
preconceived ideas of the likely outcomes of coaching, which may not
necessarily be positive.

The internal coach, therefore, has to work on several issues that the external
coach does not encounter:

Putting aside any preconceived ideas about the person and their
effectiveness. Try to focus on the coaching process, and what you learn about
the individual through that.

Parking your own subject expertise, and helping the individual to develop
their own solutions. One good way is to make an effort never to offer a
comment, but only ever to ask open questions (so not Have you thought
about doing x?).

Not leaping to solutions but, instead, allowing the person being coached time
to explore the problem in their own way. Again, continuing to ask questions
about the nature of the problem, or what might be a possible solution, is a
good way to do this.

Being aware of assumptions made, whether about the person, the process or
the subject. See our page: The Ladder of Inference to help you recognise and
avoid some of the pitfalls.