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Future of Work Requires Leaders Who Can "Coach" and Inspire Teams

Cheryl Cran

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Want teams that are innovative and collaborative? The secret is leadership coaching that inspires future-ready teams. Great teams have leaders with the ability to coach performance that inspires and engages team members to grow.

Recently, I facilitated a 2.5 day senior leadership retreat with a group of 100 senior leaders in the agriculture industry. The divisional leader, Paul, was instrumental in setting the inspirational tone of the event.

Paul's philosophy is that every one of his senior leaders are guardians of the culture.

In the 2.5 days, the topics included safety, empowerment, and inclusive leadership. The outcome of the leadership conference was renewed energy, renewed focus, and renewed inspiration.

Feedback from the leaders attending the event included comments of "needed the inspiration," "needed the clarity," and "needed the renewed focus."

My closing comments on the last day of the conference focused on inspiring the leaders in the room to make a new level of commitment to provide leadership coaching that inspires future-ready teams.

Leaders can be so focused on projects, meetings, and deadlines that they often neglect to give teams the tools and resources that they need to succeed.

Leaders need to empower their people. Leaders need to include people in decisions, direction, and strategy, which leads to higher levels of engagement.

There are five approaches of leadership coaching that inspires future-ready teams:

1. Consistent coaching—via weekly one-on-ones creates trust between leader and team member—increased trust means increased commitment.

2. Creative coaching—that includes new ways of interacting or new approaches keeps team members connected to the goals—for example, starting a one-on-one with a creative exercise, such as coming up with five things that co-workers have in common, can set a new tone for the coach conversation.

3. Transparent coaching—where a leader shares a vulnerable experience or shares a failure can create greater alignment—leaders who are transparent and real have teams that are willing to fail without fear.

4. "Me to We" coaching—is when a team member is helped to elevate beyond a focus on self and to evolve more toward a "we" or team attitude. For example, at the 2.5 day leadership conference mentioned above, I shared our "Me to We" model to help leaders identify the way he or she was thinking and how that affected their leadership style.

5. Caring coaching—where time is spent tuning into and deeply listening to team members to better discern the feelings or energy behind what is being said. For example, a team member might say that he or she is doing great with a project; however, with deep listening one can intuit that the team member has stress or fear. Caring coaching goes a long way in engaging and retaining top talent and often is the key as to why an employee will stick around with a leader.

In a fast-paced work reality, we as leaders often forget that although we work in highly technological realities that we are human beings and that it is human approaches that are going to pave the way to creating a successful future.

Cheryl Cran is a future-of-work expert and the founder of NextMapping.com, a future-of-work research and consulting firm that helps leaders, teams, and entrepreneurs be future-ready.

She is the author of six books, including her new one due out at the end of 2018 titled
, NextMapping—How Great Leaders Inspire People to Create the Future of Work.

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