Coaching Leadership Style: What It Is, Pros and Cons

coaching leadership style, coaching leadership style example, coaching leadership style pros and cons

Coaching Leadership Style: What It Is, Pros and Cons

When you need to ensure peak performance from team members as a leader, your leadership style goes a long way in determining that. There are different leadership styles you can adopt as a leader to manage your team effectively and get the best results. The leadership style can include an affiliative style, an empathetic style, and an influence style.

However, one of the most effective leadership style is the coaching style. The coaching leadership style is where the leader takes on the role of a coach, focusing on the personal development of team members and explaining the team’s strategy to them. This approach increases the performance of each team member, the group as a whole, and the firm as a whole.

This article explains the coaching style, outlines its characteristics and the pros and cons related to the coaching leadership style. Also, it gives reasons why the coaching leadership style is effective.

Coaching Leadership Style

The leadership style known as “coaching” is one in which the leader takes on the coach role. The team leader takes the time and makes the effort to contribute to the personal development of every team member. They also explain to them how the team’s overall strategy pertains to their role in it. The performance of each increases as a result of this, but also the performance of the group as a whole and the firm as a whole.

To be an effective coach, you must understand the strengths, areas for improvement, and reasons behind each player’s performance. Leadership emphasizing coaching focuses more on people’s performance and drives them to work even harder. This kind of leadership also encourages team members to collaborate, gives individuals the authority to make decisions, and assists individuals in achieving their professional objectives and performing their tasks.

What Are the Characteristics of Coaching Leadership?

The following are the characteristics of the coaching leadership style:

#1. They serve and teach their team members

A manager who also coaches devotes their time to instructing and directing their team members. By teaching them new abilities, they encourage their team members to expand their skill sets and become more proficient.

#2. They pay close attention to the progress being made.

A leader who coaches works hard to aid in developing their team members. They provide their team members with guidance and assistance to assist them in realizing their full potential as members of the team.

#3. They give personalized guidance

A coaching leader assists each team member in a manner tailored to their strengths and areas for improvement. The leadership coaching model emphasizes adapting tactics to meet individual team members’ needs, treating them as unique individuals with unique capabilities, interests, and potential. This approach fosters trust and camaraderie among team members by focusing on individual traits and adjusting aid accordingly, rather than a one-size-fits-all strategy.

#4. Coach leaders are aware of the capabilities and limitations of each member of the team

A good coaching leader is highly familiar with each team member’s strengths and areas for improvement. They put this knowledge to use to provide their team members with the best possible assistance.

#5. Coach leaders are driven by the results

Pursuing results should be the primary focus of any leader who coaches. They wish to contribute to accomplishing their team’s objectives and goals.

#6. They offer open communication

When leaders coach, they make sure that everyone feels comfortable speaking up, sharing ideas, and listening attentively to one another. Not only does this help strengthen our relationships with others, but it also lays the groundwork for giving and receiving helpful guidance and feedback.

#7. Skill Development

When it comes to coaching leaders, they focus on helping individuals with their professional development and growth. They’re always on the lookout for ways to help team members learn and thrive, which contributes to the overall success of the team and organization.

What Are the Pros and Cons of the Coaching Leadership Style?

Coaching leadership styles are one of the most effective approaches in specific contexts. This style focuses on developing individuals and showing them how to improve their abilities and performance. It can be particularly effective when all the team members are self-starters and proactive in their approach to work. There are several pros to the coaching leadership style:

  • Personal Development: A coaching leadership style helps employees develop their skills and capabilities. A coaching leader can help their team members grow professionally and personally by providing guidance and feedback. This leadership style often results in higher employee engagement and job satisfaction.
  • Improved Performance: Coaching leaders focus on improving the performance of their team members. They work closely with their team to identify areas of weakness and develop strategies to improve. This can result in improved productivity and efficiency.
  • Long-Term Success: The coaching leadership style is focused on long-term success rather than short-term results. By investing in the development of their team members, coaching leaders can help ensure the future success of their organization.
  • Increased Engagement: Coaching leaders actively involve their team members in setting goals and making decisions. This can increase engagement and commitment to the organization.
  • Positive Work Culture: A coaching leadership style can help create a positive work culture where continuous learning and development are valued. It can foster a sense of teamwork and collaboration and encourage open communication. 

Coaching leadership style possesses certain disadvantages that can impact the effectiveness of a team or organization. They include:

  • Time-Intensive: Coaching leadership style is time-consuming for the leader as it requires working closely with each team member to understand their strengths and weaknesses and then providing personalized guidance to help them improve. This could be challenging in situations where quick decisions and actions are required.
  • Dependence on Employee Cooperation: This leadership style’s effectiveness largely depends on employees’ willingness and commitment to grow and develop. Team members need to be open to receiving feedback and making changes to ensure the coaching leadership style is effective.
  • Ineffectiveness in Certain Environments: Not all work environments are suited to the Coaching Leadership style. It may be more challenging to implement in companies with a more structured sense of hierarchy or in high-pressure situations requiring quick results.
  • Potential for Equity and Fairness Concerns: Given the nature of coaching leadership, which involves more direct and personalized attention to certain employees, there may be perceptions of favouritism, leading to resentment among team members. This can be mitigated by being transparent about the coaching process and ensuring equal opportunities for growth and development.
  • Slow Decision-Making: The coaching leadership style encourages open dialogue and collective input, which can slow down the decision-making process. While this approach fosters creativity and inclusivity, it may not be suitable in urgent or critical situations.
  • Requires Skilled Leadership: The effectiveness of the coaching leadership style is heavily dependent on the leader’s ability to coach, which can be challenging if the leader does not have adequate coaching skills or the ability to provide meaningful feedback

How Do You Use Coaching Leadership?

Coaching leadership is a management approach that focuses on individual growth, skill development, and empowerment. To adopt a coaching leadership style, one should assess their current leadership style, reflect on their strengths, weaknesses, and communication patterns with their team, and be open to feedback.

Open communication is encouraged, with active listening being integral to this step. Building trust and fostering relationships is crucial, with genuine interest in their professional and personal lives and regular one-on-one discussions.

Also, provide constructive feedback focusing on behaviours or actions rather than the individual and focus on growth opportunities, too. Encourage team members to reflect on their performance and engage in two-way conversations about their work.

Coaching leaders should encourage learning and development, promote a culture of continuous learning and development, and help team members discover their talents and insights.

Finally, coaching models like the GROW model can guide the coaching process, which involves four action steps: Goal, Reality, Options, and Will. Coaching leadership is time-intensive and requires high cooperation and commitment from employees. While it may not always yield quick wins, it can foster trust between leaders and their teams, increase employee commitment, satisfaction, and retention, and provide frequent feedback to fuel employee growth.

What Are Coaching Leadership Skills?

Coaching leadership skills involve guiding, instructing, and facilitating team members’ learning or improvement process. Key coaching leadership skills include

  • Growth mindset
  • Clear communication skills
  • Emotional intelligence
  • The ability to give and receive feedback
  • Active listening
  • Commitment to learning and development
  • Accessibility and approachability
  • Collaborative decision-making
  • Performance evaluation
  • Building trust and psychological safety.

A growth mindset values long-term development over short-term achievements, while communication skills involve clear, empathetic, and supportive communication. Emotionally intelligent leaders are perceptive, understanding, and compassionate, building trust and rapport with team members.

Leaders must also be able to give and receive constructive criticism, be open to feedback, and encourage the free exchange of ideas and opinions. They must also be accessible and approachable, fostering a sense of ownership over processes and motivation. Performance evaluation is crucial for evaluating coaching effectiveness and holding managers accountable for their coaching skills. Building trust and psychological safety is essential for employees to change their behaviour and mindset.

Why Is Coach-Style Leadership Effective?

There are several reasons why coach-style leadership is effective. They include:

  • A coach leader can promote balanced thinking and point out damaging biases. This can be particularly beneficial when facing obstacles or new challenges, preventing extreme all-or-nothing positions that may not be helpful.
  • Coaching leadership can break down barriers between individuals, teams, and departments. It encourages a culture where team members spend time coaching, mentoring, and teaching each other, which can lead to a more unified perspective on projects.
  • Coach-style leaders treat employees as valuable people, not just people with practical skills. This approach can boost morale, motivation, and productivity.
  • Developing Communication Skills: Communication is a key part of effective coaching leadership. Leaders must communicate clearly and empathetically to motivate their teams and explain each individual’s role in achieving goals.
  • It boosts emotional intelligence, which makes the coaching leadership style effective. Successful coaching leaders are perceptive, empathetic, compassionate, and humble.
  • It enhances accessibility. Just like athletes need to trust and talk to their coaches, employees need to trust and talk to their leaders. This requires a certain level of accessibility and approachability.
  • It encourages feedback, a foundational element of the coaching leadership style. Leaders can deliver feedback and constructive criticism and be open to feedback from their team.
  • Coaching leadership focuses on long-term development rather than short-term task completion. This approach helps team members achieve their personal and career goals, improving team performance.
  • Coaching leadership styles incorporate active listening approaches that encourage the free exchange of ideas and opinions, which can help improve individual and team performance.
  • It encourages continuous learning and development. A team commitment to continuous learning and development underpins coaching leadership styles. This leads to consistent improvement in performance.


Coaching leaders are key in empowering employees and creating a positive work environment. They focus on building authentic relationships, providing constructive feedback, and supporting the professional development of their team members. By fostering a growth mindset and emphasizing emotional intelligence, coaching leaders help create a culture of engagement, motivation, and productivity. Their commitment to long-term outcomes and continuous improvement makes a significant difference in the success of the team and the organization as a whole. However, it may not be suitable for all types of businesses or work environments, and care must be taken to ensure equity and fairness in the coaching process.


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