A recent article discussed Millennials’ desire for leaders who offer more coaching, mentoring and personal development versus a boss who tells them what to do. Of course as a coach and mentor, I love this, but it also makes great business sense. Interestingly, the people who develop in knowledge and experience get promoted and add value to their organization. Businesses don’t want their employees to remain at the same level as when they were hired. Yet, many leaders undermine growth and potential by focusing solely on a person’s performance determined at hiring rather than developing greater potential.

Understanding the next generation wants a coach more than a boss would create a better work environment for everyone. Why? Because it explains the kind of leaders needed to develop people and a simple coaching model.


“Coaching closes gaps between current and
desired states by tapping strengths.

Coaching leaders forge high performance by developing people.”
Dan Rockwell


Six Leadership Styles

Here are six leadership adapted from Primal Leadership, by Daniel Goleman

Visionary leaders move people toward shared dreams. They are most useful when organizations need change or clear direction.

Affiliative leaders create harmony by connecting people to each other. They heal rifts and provide motivation to face stress.

Democratic leaders get commitment through participation. They create buy-in and build consensus.

Pacesetting leaders move organizations toward challenging and exciting goals. They succeed best with highly motivated competent teams.

Commanding leaders soothe fear by giving clear direction in crises. They are most effective with problem employees, in a crisis, or igniting a turnaround.

Coaching leaders connect team member’s wants with organizational goals. They forge high performance by developing people.
All six leadership styles have their place. Research shows visionary, affiliative, democratic, and coaching styles most likely to create positive environments. Because of abuse or misuse, pacesetting and commanding are most often negative.

The simplest coaching pattern imaginable:

Explore problems or issues. (Current state.) Glance backward to understand how you got here. Glance, never loiter, in the past. Avoid circling the black hole. Explore problems long enough for coachees to feel heard. Avoid creating dependency by offering your solutions to their issues.

Imagine the preferred future. (Desired state.) Coaching is always forward-facing. We change – the past can’t. Don’t wait for others to create your desired state. Image what you’re doing – in behavioral terms – if things are going perfectly. Descriptions like, “Everyone is getting along,” are gibberish.

Identify near term behaviors that ignite forward movement. Identify four or five behaviors, before choosing next steps. Choose how and when to take next steps. Prepare for what might go wrong. Set your follow-up meeting.

Become more of a coach and less of a boss you will will find most problems can be solved and build trust and team engagement at the same time.

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