Coaching is a Core Leadership Competence

What do leading and coaching have to do with each other?
Well… a lot… I’ve been thinking a lot about this subject because if you want to develop your team,… no LEAD your team, you’re going to have to get into coaching sooner rather than later.

A leader gives direction, focuses on the future, on strategy, is a visionary and a change agent. Leaders lead based on their world-view, their values, beliefs, and personal life-mission (spiritual quotient=SQ), their history and experience of working and interacting with and leading others (emotional quotient=EQ), and of course their IQ, your basic intelligence, education – formal or learned on the streets.

In my experience and observation, IQ and EQ are sufficient conditions for good leadership, but SQ is a necessary AND sufficient condition of OUTSTANDING leadership. Self actualization occurs where IQ, EQ and SQ thrive and co-develop. Leaders establish the clear link between motivation and performance. Leaders understand, respect and even encourage different styles of leadership from their teams – if they are “safe” in their SQ.

A coach develops skills, listens, probes, questions in order to help you release your full potential – reach your self actualization. A coach can be directive (providing direct guidance even making suggestions) or non-directive (paraphrasing or giving feedback). Some coaches push. Some pull. All good coaches help you increase your awareness of the situation and your options as well as highlight your responsibility to decide and to act. You know the drill.

Coaching is a core leadership competence that is too often neglected. You will follow a leader who cares about you, tells you, shows you. Someone who tells you what they expect of you, gives you reflective, real, personalized feedback, lets you know how you are performing and why. Provides you with skill development how to get to the next step, next level, deeper complexity – and most of all who is committed to helping you find your mission, reflect on your core belief system, values and how all that comes together with what motivates you and where and how you perform.

Coaching is a core leadership compence – focus on it. Sooner rather than later.


4 thoughts on “Coaching is a Core Leadership Competence

  1. …to catch up with the ending paragraph: two years ago my own mentor asked me two questions, first, ‘What drives you?’ and second, ‘Where do you want to lead, perform, and live?’. It was not meant to reply to him but to answer those two, apparently simply, questions to myself. Since then, I know how powerful a ‘pull’-question can be.

    Best, Bernhard

  2. I think this would be in line with the topic. In a rather perverse way, but still in line:

    Sad as it is, inefficiency of an organization seems to be tightly coupled with the success and irreplaceability of a leader. That sheds a strange light on the coaching concept…

    Hm. It was supposed to be a joke, but I’m not sure anymore. 🙂 Could be an interesting discussion in the class…

  3. Dear Dr. Straw,

    I happened on your blog and must complement you on drawing attention to coaching as a leadership development tool. As a full time executive coach (you can read about my activities at, I am also impressed with your inclusion of the SQ dimension, a facet that most practicing coaches tend to conceptually overlook, though in reality they might be generating awareness in their coachees/clients by opening up this dimension.

    Developing the SQ helps a person grow beyond self-actualization (the traditional hierarchy of needs) to a region of meta-needs. The Hindu “chakra” philosophy and Buddhism also illustrates this journey, where attaining a final stage of compassion helps one to connect with the whole universe.

    With best wishes,

    Krishna Kumar
    Founder-Director & Executive coach
    ISEC, India

  4. Thanks a lot Krishna – I find support from Hindus, Jewish, Muslim and Christian coaches around the globe. Being yourself and more of it is a universal truth to which we all need to be true!

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