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Coaching Leadership Style for High-Performance Executives

In the high-stakes arena of executive leadership, every bit of performance counts. Yet, traditional feedback methods often leave us with a hanging sense of "is that all there is?". While constructive criticism has its place, its impact can be limited, leaving executives feeling micromanaged and frustrated.

In this situation, coaching intervenes and provides a transformative approach. It's about bringing out the full potential in your executive team, enabling them to make breakthroughs and grow your organisation—not about micromanaging or excessive use of slogans.

In this blog, we will look at the craft of coaching leadership, giving you everything you need to not only manage but also inspire and elevate your executive team to high performance.

Ready to become the coach your team deserves? Let's dive in.

How to coach your executive team for high performance

What is Coaching Leadership Style? 

It's a shift from command and control to collaboration and discovery. It's about investing in your executives' development as much as their performance. It's stepping away from micromanagement and embracing a partnership where questions guide, insights inspire, and growth takes centre stage.

Through powerful questions and active listening, the CEO delves into the executive's world, uncovering blind spots and hidden strengths. Bringing the "aha!" moment to executive, through insightful questioning, discovers a limiting pattern that they had no idea was holding them back. 

This self-discovery fuels genuine motivation, far surpassing the temporary boost of external feedback. It stimulates a growth mindset, in which challenges are viewed as opportunities for learning and self-improvement.

Impact of Coaching Leadership 

"Coaching is not just about fixing problems; it's about unlocking potential. It's about helping people see possibilities they never knew existed." - Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft

Facing a stagnant giant, Nadella didn't micromanage; he unleashed potential. He shifted the company culture from "know-it-all" to "learn-it-all,". This coaching mindset sparked a resurgence in innovation, propelling Microsoft back to the forefront of the tech industry.

Beyond Individual Success:

The impact goes beyond individual success. Studies have shown that companies with coaching cultures experience:

  • 50% reduction in turnover within teams led by coaching leaders (Harvard Business Review).

  • Another study by Gallup revealed that teams with coaching leaders are 5 times more likely to be engaged and 3 times more likely to be high-performing.

  • 21% higher profit margins for companies with coaching cultures (Manchester Inc.).

Let's dive into the transformative power of this style and explore how you can integrate it seamlessly into your leadership approach.

How to Coach Your Executive Team to High Performance

While your vision sets the course, it's your executive team who translates it into tangible results. Coaching leadership unlock their full potential and ensure they operate as a cohesive, high-performing unit.

Today, we delve into the 7 key actions that form the foundation of effective executive coaching. We'll equip you with the resources to navigate this journey, including powerful questions that unlock self-awareness and propel your team toward remarkable achievements.

1. Be Present: 

Forget textbooks and focus on the power of the present moment. It's more than just reacting; it's about being fully present with your executive, actively listening and paying attention to their thoughts, emotions, and the situation at hand. This conscious relation creates confidence as well as comprehension, allowing for profound coaching experiences.

2. Active Listening: 

Beyond just hearing words, pay close attention to both verbal and nonverbal cues. Changes in tone, posture, and facial expressions may reveal hidden emotions or concerns. Actively listen by asking clarifying questions, paraphrasing their statements, and seeking confirmation to ensure your understanding matches up with their intended message.

This meticulous approach creates an inviting atmosphere for open communication, ensuring that your executives feel truly heard and understood.When people know you're interested in figuring out not only their words, but also the subtext beneath them, trust grows, paving the way for genuine dialogue and transformative coaching interventions.

3. Ask powerful questions:

Ask powerful questions that challenge assumptions, ignite critical thinking, and encourage self-discovery. These questions should nudge your executives towards personal growth, not just goal achievement. Remember, the answers often lie within them, waiting to be unearthed. Here are some powerful categories of questions to explore:

Clarity and Shared Vision:
  • "How clear is our team's overall goal or vision for this project?"

  • "Does everyone feel heard and understood when they contribute ideas?"

  • "Are there any underlying assumptions or differing perspectives that need clarification?"

Roles & Responsibilities:
  • Do we have clarity on our roles and responsibilities within this project, and are they clearly defined and communicated?

  • Are there any overlaps or gaps in our responsibilities that need to be adjusted for optimal collaboration?

  • Are there any specific training programs or resources that would be helpful?

  • How will you measure your progress towards your development goals?

  • What consequences or rewards will hold you accountable to your commitments?

  • What did you learn and what would you do differently?

Board Meetings:

  • "I'm focusing on engaging with people on this list. Do you have any existing contacts that could help make introductions?"

  • "Based on your experience, is there anything missing from my agenda? What potential issues or concerns could arise?"

  • "In your opinion, what is the most important issue impacting our organisation right  now? How can we best handle it?"

4. Engage in Meaningful Feedback: 

Remember, feedback isn't about pointing fingers; it's about offering a roadmap for improvement. When delivering feedback, ensure it's timely, specific, and actionable. Focus on observable behaviours and desired outcomes, avoiding vague statements that leave your executives confused.

Guide them towards solutions by asking thought-provoking questions and brainstorming potential strategies together. This collaborative approach creates a sense of ownership and empowers your executives to take charge of their development.

By creating a culture of open communication and constructive feedback, you empower your executives to learn, adapt, and ultimately achieve remarkable results.

5. Lead by Example: Walk the Talk: 

Your actions speak louder than words. Embody the coaching principles you advocate. Be open to feedback, demonstrate continuous learning, and create a culture of support and mutual respect. When you lead by example, you inspire your executives to embrace growth and become better leaders themselves.

Your actions speak louder than words, and your role as coach goes beyond mere words of encouragement. You must embody the coaching principles you advocate. This means demonstrating openness to feedback by actively seeking it from your executives and colleagues.

Be receptive to their perspectives and willing to adjust your approach based on their insights. Furthermore, demonstrate continuous learning by actively seeking new knowledge and skills that enhance your coaching abilities.

By consistently demonstrating these values, you inspire your executives to embrace growth, become better leaders, and ultimately, propel your organization towards extraordinary achievements.

6. Focus on Growth, Not Just Goals: 

It is true that accomplishing goals is the lifeblood of every organisation.However, what distinguishes sustained success from temporary outcomes is the foundation of individual and collective growth. Integrate coaching into performance reviews, but go beyond just numbers.

Focus on developing key skills, strategic thinking, and emotional intelligence. This equips your executives for long-term success, not just short-term wins.

7. Celebrate Every Milestone: 

Celebrate individual and team achievements, big or small. Publicly acknowledge their progress, effort, and commitment. This reinforces positive behaviours, fuels motivation, and creates a culture of shared success.

Remember, even seemingly insignificant victories deserve recognition. A quick "great job" after a well-delivered presentation or a personalised note recognising someone's initiative can go a long way. Celebrating success together creates a sense of collective purpose and strengthens the bonds.

Shoonyo Way of Leading:

Shoonyo believes that leadership is about cultivating potential rather than dictating it. That is why we promote the Shoonyo Way of Leading, which is based on coaching. It is about immersing yourself in the art of coaching. We teach you the intricacies of the craft, empowering you to lead your executives to greatness.

Coaching goes beyond tools and techniques. It requires two core values: equanimity and the courage to have bold conversations. Equanimity ensures the coaching experience remains objective and focused on the executive's growth. It empowers CEOs to navigate challenging conversations without succumbing to personal biases or emotional responses.

The second value is overcoming hesitation or personal blind spots. This might involve addressing difficult topics with executives, even board members. By overcoming Personality traits and authenticity, CEOs can engage in these crucial yet potentially uncomfortable conversations, ultimately driving positive change and progress.

One of the primary expertise of Shoonyo is to support CEOs to recognise and release their blindspots through the Shoonyo CEO Coaching framework. 

The Shoonyo Way of Leading isn't just about individual development; it's about building a ripple effect of growth throughout the organisation. For additional clarity, schedule a call with us.


As we reach the end of this exploration, remember, coaching leadership is not a quick fix, but a transformative journey. It requires commitment, practice, and a genuine desire to empower your team towards shared success. 

 Let's leave you with a few powerful questions to contemplate and share your thoughts with us.

1. What resonated most with you from this blog? How can you apply these ideas to your own leadership approach?

2. What are the biggest challenges you face in implementing coaching leadership in your organisation? How can we help you overcome them?

3. Share a story of a time when coaching leadership led to a breakthrough result in your team. What did you learn from the experience?

Remember, the potential for greatness lies within your team, waiting to be ignited by the spark of coaching leadership.


Keep reading more articles on Leadership.

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