Coaching Leadership

As a serial entrepreneur and an active part of over 50 businesses, I have come to value coaching in leadership. Telling someone what you expect is much different than teaching them how to do it. I happen to excel and customer service, sales, and communication. Nothing makes me happier than to happily resolve a situation in a positive manner. Granted I get a bit overwhelmed if all I do is fix problems. Yet, because of my experience, I face my problems, knowing that delaying answering only escalates the problem. With all this in mind, I certainly appreciate those leaders that teach me the strategy to up my game!  I feel there is always room for improvement in how we do business.

Don’t get me wrong, I have reached out to so many mentors over the years and have seen wonderful improvements. Improvements that made an impact and became part of my game. I have worked with Therapists, coaching for book writing, business, and self-improvement coaches, and recently with one that worked with me for changing subconscious behavior patterns. In my sales position, my favorite boss is the one that is a serious sports coach, his instantaneous assessment of the situation and a quick response helps me to be a winner!  One of the most productive things that has occurred since Covid-19 entered our world is zoom into the MIT Sloan School of Management. They have a series of half-hour talks about facets of working throughout the pandemic.

I investigated some studies to see if they agreed with me. This one I found particularly useful.” At the 99 percent confidence level, surveyed respondents believe that, on average, the coaching process has provided results above the investment required and has led to progress for them and their organizations. Of the six targeted areas, five showed a very positive relationship between the coaching experience and the results from its clients.”

The way we manage now is so vastly different from the trends of the past. Early management styles that have shaped our workforce will need to be adapted to current technology. “As a manager, you knew what needed to be done, you taught others how to do it, and you evaluated their performance. Command and control were the name of the game, and your goal was to direct and develop employees who understood how the business worked and was able to reproduce its previous successes. Not today. Rapid, constant, and disruptive change is now the norm, and what succeeded in the past is no longer a guide to what will succeed in the future. Twenty-first-century managers simply don’t (and can’t!) have all the right answers. To cope with this new reality, companies are moving away from traditional command-and-control practices and toward something very different: a model in which managers give support and guidance rather than instructions, and employees learn how to adapt to constantly changing environments in ways that unleash fresh energy, innovation, and commitment.

The role of the manager, in short, is becoming that of a coach. This is a dramatic and fundamental shift, and we’ve observed it firsthand. Over the past decade, we’ve seen it in our ongoing research on how organizations are transforming themselves for the digital age; we’ve discerned it from what our executive students and coaching clients have told us about the leadership skills they want to cultivate in themselves and throughout their firms, and we’ve noticed that more and more of the companies we work with are investing in training their leaders as coaches. Increasingly, coaching is becoming integral to the fabric of a learning culture—a skill that good managers at all levels need to develop and deploy.

We should note that when we talk about coaching, we mean something broader than just the efforts of consultants who are hired to help executives build their personal and professional skills. That work is important and sometimes vital, but it’s temporary and executed by outsiders. The coaching we’re talking about—the kind that creates a true learning organization—is ongoing and executed by those inside the organization. It’s work that all managers should engage in with all their people all the time, in ways that help define the organization’s culture and advance its mission. An effective manager-as-coach asks questions instead of providing answers, supports employees instead of judging them, and facilitates their development instead of dictating what has to be done.”

One of the biggest challenges in the post-Covid-19 days, is the fact that most of our work is virtual. Managing in this arena will take a new set of skills. From the organization’s point of view, creating virtual teams makes perfect sense. It allows the organization to draw from a vast pool of global talent. Without the limitations of location, team members are being chosen based on their talent, experience, skillset, and temperament. Also, from the organization’s point of view, there are excellent reasons for virtual team coaching. There is the obvious elimination of travel costs, hotel, and meals. But beyond the out-of-pocket financial costs are all the time costs associated with travel. Team members are away and unavailable; there is more stress on employees and their ability to be productive. There are significant costs associated with gathering the team together in-person.

Additionally, virtual team meetings are easier to schedule and more convenient for team members. It’s an excellent way to optimize the time commitment for team members and maximize the investment in team development. More teams will take advantage of team coaching when they see that it fits their needs for economy and efficiency.

The major challenges that virtual teams face:

  1. Technology with the best ways to resolve with chat, breakout, screen share.
  2. Logistics can be managed with length of session, frequency, and team size, time zone, privacy
  3. Structure can be handled with accountability and learning, building rapport, brainstorming, action sessions, and most important recognition and appreciation.
  4. The experience can be improved by building trust and intimacy, improving verbal skill channels, team training, and incorporating experiential work.
  5. Facilitating: team leaders need to be cognizant of the different personalities and how they all interact together.
  6. Self-Management: One typical change for coaches is learning to get the balance right between intervening, listening, and observing. As coaches, we are responsible for the process, but that doesn’t mean being a dominant voice. Notice the natural temptation to fill the airspace and overcompensate when the team gets quiet. Pay attention to your own self-management tendencies and triggers.

We have learned so many innovative ways to communicate, especially in our post-COVID-19 era. I hope we will look back at this time as a way we improved our skills and moved the world forward into the future.


Cynthia Kosciuczyk, MBA
Cynthia Kosciuczyk, MBA
I took the less-traveled roads which led to many careers. Each of these contributed to my unique mix of expertise: science research, teaching, food, art, and textiles. Owning and operating my own businesses (a bakery, a gallery, and a consulting business) thrust me into the driver seat of learning many diverse roles from customer service to public relations and resulted in my unique management style. Participating in the creation of startups, working in design, and my own businesses and technology endeavors. My quest for knowledge and seeking out the best has turned me into a networking enthusiast. A lifelong passion for textiles and Persian rugs taught me an array of professional skills such as research, writing, and community events. Networking resulted in a multitude of business opportunities. My experiences include Management, Entrepreneurship, Sales, Design, Descriptive Writing, Business Strategy, Color, and Textiles. Every facet of my work and life comes together like pieces of a puzzle. I strive to be a phenomenal networker and problem solver who continues to learn and grow.

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