Transformational Leadership and Coaching

When you think of transformational leaders, who is the first person to come to mind? Is it a great teacher who inspired you to take a chance, or choose a career path? Or maybe it’s your last boss who mentored and positioned you to get that promotion? Whether it’s someone you know, or someone you read about, transformational leaders inspire, empower and have the ability to energize teams and organizations with their passion and willingness to let others lead.

Adopt A Coaching Culture

James MacGregor Burns, scholar of presidents and leadership, describes transformational leadership as “a relationship of mutual stimulation and elevation that converts followers into leaders.” Burns believed people could be lifted into their better selves when stimulated and inspire to both achieve extraordinary outcomes and develop their own leadership capacity. When an organization adopts a coaching culture- one in which leaders are empowered to teach, train, skill develop and support teams to achieve extraordinary outcomes- it lets leaders, managers, and employees uncover potential that might otherwise go untapped. In short, coaching encourages people to take responsibility for their outcomes.

“Pay It Forward” Attitude

At its core, coaching is a dialogue of empowerment founded in the belief that the people being coached have the talent, resourcefulness and potential to develop and grow.  Coaching cultures adopt a collaborative and consultative approach to leading and influencing with the goal of developing people and teams to step up and lead. Building coaching cultures as a way of encouraging transformational leaders to emerge embeds a “pay it forward” attitude in the organization. People learn to think and work together more effectively, stretching capabilities and autonomy.

Transformational Leaders as coaches:

  • Share the vision
  • Build a learning environment
  • Recognizing individual abilities/values
  • Are positive role models
  • Reinforcing self-confidence/independence
  • Support their employees
  • Drive out fear
  • Encourage participation/self-expression
  • Foster continuous improvement
  • Foster initiative and responsibility
  • Encourage persistence
  • Emphasize intrinsic outcomes
  • Advocate shared leadership
Embedding coaching into a company is not something that happens by osmosis! Intention and purpose must be driven through the layers of the company, top down. Teaching managers and leaders to encourage critical thinking, embrace other points of view, demonstrate self awareness and empathy, and use skilful coaching language in daily interactions starts with intention and a clear vision for transformational change.