Q: When you are the boss, where do you go for coaching?
A: There are more options than you might expect for leaders looking to improve their game. Assessments, peer circles and one-on-one coaching all can be valuable resources to build skills. I often guide leaders to use a combination of these tools to help them identify their leadership and growth priorities and set goals.
Assessments come in many forms — some are similar to online quizzes and others might be delivered by a certified professional or facilitator during a workshop. The great thing about these tests is they help build self-awareness, which is essential to healthy emotional intelligence. They can also confirm your leadership strengths and help you identify skill or leadership style gaps.
At the pinnacle of their careers, many leaders may feel like there is no longer anyone at work to whom they can turn to think through certain sticky decisions. Peer circles offer access to other leaders who may have faced similar challenges — from decisions about making significant investments to expand the business, to how to address challenging personnel issues. Consider finding or creating a peer network that can both challenge and support you.
Working with a coach can help a leader challenge their assumptions and explore their concerns. For particularly sensitive challenges or when more significant personal growth and reflection is needed, a good coach can be a great option. A coach can help you find safe ways to practice new skills and build confidence to deal with the biggest challenges your organization faces. Finding a qualified, credentialed and skilled coach who is a good fit for your leadership style is not as hard as it may sound. You can search an online directory like the one on the International Coach Federation (ICF) website. Another smart approach is to tap into your network and ask for recommendations, referrals and introductions to coaches who have a strong brand and reputation for helping leaders get similar results.
It doesn’t have to be lonely to lead. Whether you want to tackle specific challenges with a coach or build a network of business advisers through a peer circle, many resources are available to support you over the short and long term.
Jill Hauwiller is on faculty at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business.