Leadership is a dynamic process of continuous growth and self-discovery. It's a journey marked by challenges, triumphs, and most importantly transformation.
In this blog post, I share my personal story from a conventional leadership style to transformative one, catalysed by the power of coaching. Fifteen years ago, I stepped into my first senior leadership role. Little did I know that this pivotal role would push me to my limits and force me to reimagine my entire approach to leadership. With the guidance of a trusted coach, I embarked on a profound transformation that not only reshaped my leadership style but also had a significant impact on the success of my team.. and spilled into my personal life. I recount the obstacles and insights that propelled me from a place of stagnation to one of thriving leadership.
The Pivotal Moment
My initiation into senior leadership was overseeing a national operations team. Transitioning from managing supervisors to leading regional managers was a milestone, but the challenges were overwhelming. Restructuring an entire division, centralizing operations across diverse regions, and downsizing the team significantly were tasks that seemed insurmountable.
In those initial months, I encountered obstacles that seemed to test my every skill. Friction with new managers and the clash of diverse perspectives made it seem like we were speaking different languages. I remember feeling a lot of pressure to perform and have the answers.
At the time it was only an inkling that my definition of leadership was limited, rooted in outdated paradigms and a directive mindset. The style and tactics that had once served me well no longer aligned with the changing team dynamics.
Leadership Guidance: Coaching to Transform My Leadership Style
Traditional leadership programs, while valuable, fell short in preparing me for the complexity of this transition. I lacked real-time support. Enter the power of Coaching. Skepticism turned into curiosity as I began the process with my coach. Together, we challenged my beliefs and assumptions, unraveling the outdated style that hindered my growth. The process was uncomfortable yet liberating, leading to a fundamental shift in my mindset.
Embracing Mindset change
I learned that authentic leadership begins with self-awareness and a willingness to evolve. My coach challenged me to question notions such as "having all the answers", and "separating personal issues from the work environment", or relying solely on clear measures to drive high performance. These revelations, though sometimes uncomfortable, triggered a profound shift in my mindset. I looked at my conflicting values and needs and realised that true change had to start within me before I could expect my team to follow suit.
My definition of leadership shifted to creating an environment for my team to thrive, and get out of my own way! Instead of providing answers, I learned to ask meaningful questions and fostered a culture of collaboration and open dialogue within my team. Together, we co-created innovative solutions, celebrated victories, and engaged the broader team and customers in our journey.
The path was not without its share of hiccups and mistakes. I certainly wasn't perfect, but I could sense a fundamental change taking hold within me. This shift translated into remarkable success for both myself and my team. We not only achieved our targets but also attained the highest engagement scores across the entire group within the same year. Personally, I found myself working less hours, and not only experiencing less stress, but really enjoying the leader collaboration and the environment that we had created together.
The Ripple Effect
As I reflect on this experience, I can't help but wish that more leaders had the opportunity to undergo such a profound shift in their leadership approach. Imagine a world where leaders embrace this transformative mindset - the possibilities are limitless.
Now, armed with years of experience and refined coaching skills, I find my passion in coaching others on their leadership journey. If you or someone you know is trapped in a similar leadership style, I invite you to share this story or reach out for a free discovery session.
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