"The full extent of a coach's impact, of course, varies significantly from one coach to another...some are flourishing while others are struggling, the reason for that difference is often the same thing: leadership." ~ Jim Knight | The Definitive Guide to Instructional Coaching
To lead ourselves, we need to clarify our purpose, develop a personalized approach to managing our time, develop positive habits, and take care of ourselves through self compassion. In this post, we share a few ideas for clarifying your purpose. Below is an excerpt and adaptation from the section on leadership in Chapter Three: Coaches as Leaders
What is Leadership?
For many, leadership is about providing direction, clearly stating a vision or goal, and then motivating others to want to pursue that goal. Such a definition divides people into leaders and followers, suggesting that leadership is something that people do to others by defining the direction they must take and motivating them to want to follow.
This definition is appropriate for some leaders, but for instructional coaches, a different model of leadership is more appropriate. Leadership based on the Partnership Principles involves helping others identify for themselves what they need to do rather than getting them to do what the leaders has decided they should do. As such, leadership based on the Partnership Principles is an act of service, not control.
For many instructional coaches, demonstrating leadership involves two elements: leading yourself and leading others.
Start with WHY
Leading yourself begins with crafting and clarifying your why and your purpose. Identifying your why is one way to clarify your intentions, beliefs, and your way of being. Knowing your purpose provides you with a compass that can guide your actions and decision-making. Below is one suggestion Jim writes about in the Definitive Guide to help us identify our purpose. Ikigai can be summed up best as "the reason we get up in the morning."
Characteristics of Leadership
In any organization or group, great leadership serves as the driving force behind success and growth. Effective leaders possess a unique set of qualities and skills that enable them to guide, inspire, and empower those around them. While leadership styles may vary, certain fundamental attributes remain constant. Most of us have probably experienced a spectrum of these characteristics over time and across many different leaders in our lives.
Identifying the characteristics of great leadership is a worthwhile reflection in order for you to determine the characteristics you hope to demonstrate in your approach to leadership and how you intend to show up for your colleagues.
One reflection activity could include using the graphic here to identify two great leaders you've encountered in your life (this activity will also work well with a partner). Write their name in the center circle, continue mapping the characteristics they embodied for each of the categories below. Next, use the reflection questions and resources linked to extend your reflection and think about your own leadership.
Now that you've mapped out the characteristics of great leadership by reflecting on the great leaders you've encountered, it can help to think through a few reflection questions in order to become more intentional about the characteristics you hope to embody in your own leadership style.
What are the characteristics of great leadership?
What are the similarities between the two leaders?
What do you think motivates them to lead?
What is it about your leader that you would like to embody too?
Examining your own leadership can be a powerful way to get a clear picture of where you are now in your journey while providing a unique opportunity to look ahead and clarify your goals for where you'd like to be as a leader too. Our leadership survey linked below can be a powerful tool for meaningful reflection and goal-setting.
How have you gone about clarifying your purpose and leading yourself? We would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below.
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