Can you coach a manager into becoming a leader?

In the real business world, I have not only practiced what I preach in these newsletters about this subject, but there has been a lot of research conducted about what makes up managers and leaders. Some of the more interesting findings reveal that the strongest differences are in the conceptions a person holds, more so than the technical or analytical skills. 

The manager embraces process, mediation and accommodation, attachment to groups, stability, execution, and resolving problems quickly. The leader embraces ideas, attachment to individuals, tolerates ambiguity, sets new directions, is willing to allow problems to become clear before driving to a solution, and has passion. 

I have always contended that leaders can be found throughout an organization, not just at the top. This is why organizations are drastically rethinking "leadership development" programs aimed at identifying "promising" managers and grooming them for the executive suite. The issue is more complex than can be addressed here but an important point is that leaders can't be made if their natural inclinations are not there. A good friend of mine told me recently that a leader MUST have a “leadership core” attribute.  And I think he is right.

I also find that the nature of what a leader does is also changing. It used to be that a leader had authority and provided direction. Organizations have changed so that leaders may be identified throughout the organization. There are some who recognize Level 4 and 5 leadership traits in junior people, even without the authority normally associated with such leadership levels. Add in emotional intelligence as a prerequisite to leadership effectiveness and you begin to understand why leadership development curricula developed a decade or more ago are potentially dangerous when applied to today's organizations.

My conclusion is that the nature of leadership and how it is expressed throughout organizations has become quite complex. Unless you are experienced in personnel assessment, trained specifically in leadership coaching, and are keeping up with recent research, it is unwise to assume that because you are a business professional that you can "do" leadership coaching. If you do not have the experience or training in this arena, you should recues yourself from such a request which is not only ethical but also helpful to the organization if you convey the importance of getting leadership right the first time. 

As always, if I can ever be of any assistance to you or your organization, please call or write and I will respond immediately!  Have a tremendous week.

George F. Mancuso, CPC, CEO
Client Growth Consultants, Inc.