coaching leadership style

What is the coaching leadership style? Explained with examples

Leadership comes in varied shapes and sizes. Neither is there a one size fits all, nor is every style suitable to every leader! As a leader, it’s important to know what style of leadership you fall into. It will allow you to use that style to its fullest potential and achieve your objectives. There are three primary styles of leadership: authoritarian, democratic, and participative. All leaders need to understand which style best suits their team and use that style accordingly.

In this blog, we will explore the coaching style of leadership, which is a slight drift away from the conventional understanding of leadership. Traditional leadership styles see the function of leadership as directing and instructing. Conversely, the coaching leadership style emphasizes closer guidance and collaboration between managers and employees. We are going to explore this management style and understand its key features. We will also check the advantages and disadvantages of the coaching style of leadership. So let’s begin!

What is the coaching style of leadership?

The coaching leadership style focuses on bringing out the best in employees. The managers and leaders work closely with employees to help them grow in many ways. They help individuals identify weak areas and support their progress as they grow. This is in strike contrast to conventional leadership that establishes a top-down approach. In a significant shift, the coaching style of leadership describes the manager as a facilitator of growth.

The leadership style of a coaching manager also expands the scope of a manager’s focus. Instead of merely focusing on their team’s performance, managers also focus on the individuals making up that team. Helping employees grow smartly along with the team is the key to generating productivity with this approach.

Moreover, coaching is an essential skill for managers and leaders to carry out their job effectively.

What are the characteristics of coaching leadership style?

Coaching style leadership is a style of leadership that emphasizes the importance of service to others and focuses on developing people rather than taking credit for their successes. This leadership style often results in high team morale and productivity because it builds trust between leaders and their team members. The common features of the coaching leadership style include the following:

Helping members achieve their goals

Collaborating to achieve rapid progress is a major feature of the coaching style of leadership. Leaders and managers who double as coaches for their team members work with their team members to help them improve. It includes planning and developing strategies to grow in specific areas that help the employees. These partnerships enable managers to build close relationships with their team too. The atmosphere of mutual respect and trust makes work conducive for all. In totality, the coaching relationship creates benefits for the workplace too.

Emphasis on feedback and asking questions

Giving feedback is a key part of coaching style leadership. Feedback is essential for growth and development but must be effective to achieve the desired results. Effective feedback starts with listening attentively to what team members have to say. It should also be specific, helpful, and timely so that team members can improve their skills quickly. Finally, leaders must use feedback positively to help employees grow rather than dwelling on past mistakes or failures. Hence, constructive feedback and asking the right questions are essential features of this style.

Employee development

Coaching style leadership emphasizes employee development. This means that leaders and managers provide feedback and help team members grow in their skills so they can succeed on the job. They do this by providing training, coaching, and mentoring opportunities. Leaders should ensure that employees have access to these resources to continue growing into effective professionals. Employee development also includes providing motivation and inspiration in low times so that employees look forward to achieving more with their teams.

Read more about employee development and its benefits.

Higher retention

Another key benefit of coaching style leadership is its impact on employee retention. It is because leaders and managers who focus on growth and development help employees see the value in their work, which leads to increased job satisfaction and motivation. In addition, leaders who provide feedback that focuses on skills rather than mistakes encourage team members to keep trying new things – even when initially unsuccessful. This strengthens teamwork morale and can lead to the long-term retention of talented employees.

Examples of coaching leadership in action

Coaching leadership is an approach that involves providing guidance and feedback along the way to help team members grow and succeed. It can be done in a variety of ways, with different results. Several famous leaders have effectively used the coaching leadership style to generate great results with their teams.

The COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, is famously known for her engaging leadership style. While upholding great standards for her team members, she sets a standard for other managers and leaders. Along with identifying the needs of her team and providing for them, she focused on motivating them through regular feedback, recognition, and appreciation. Her efforts significantly contributed to building standards and a reputation for the team.

Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, presents another great example of a leader using the coaching style. He inherited a stagnating organization but managed to drive a turnaround by closely engaging with his team. He developed the organization by focusing on its constituents – the people that make Microsoft. By emphasizing developing a growth mindset in his team, he started providing support and feedback as needed. Resultantly, his team brought a significant shift in the culture.

Why should you adopt the coaching leadership style?

The coaching leadership style has several advantages. It can bring positive impacts for both teams and their managers. Managers who adopt the coaching style of leadership witness higher productivity in their teams. Managers do this by working on the employees individually. When you help them grow their skills, they can carry out their jobs effectively. Moreover, the relationships built in the process of choosing are a significant motivator to stay loyal and give their best at work.

On the other hand, the manager can learn a lot by turning into a coach. By adopting this role, they can refine their knowledge. Mutual respect and trust are built with the team member. Working with the team closely provides ample opportunities to build long-lasting relationships that enhance retention and the lifetime value of employment relationships.
With a view toward the future, the coaching leadership style is a great way to foster collaboration and help the teams grow together! You can read more about the importance of coaching skills for managers here.

How can you be a coaching leader?

While the task of coaching seems easy enough, it isn’t! Being a good coach will need much more than merely being a good manager. First and foremost, coaching leaders must have a good understanding of themselves. They need to be self-aware so that they can understand their strengths and weaknesses as well as the needs of their team members.

To effectively coach others, they also need emotional intelligence – which means being able to control emotions in personal and professional settings. Finally, coaching leaders must be effective communicators; they need to know how to present information in an organized way and deliver messages that motivate people.

The best way to be a coaching leader is by first understanding the qualities and skills needed for this leadership style. You must have an open mind, good communication skills, and patience. Additionally, you should also be able to understand how people work and what motivates them. It is important to focus on individual growth rather than just team growth, not to create division within your team.
You can read more about the essential coaching skills of a leader here.


As you can see, the coaching leadership style has many features that make it effective in leading teams and groups. By understanding these features, you can better understand how to use the coaching leadership style in your own business or organization. In addition, check out the examples of coaching leadership in action to get a better sense of how you can apply it to your situation.

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