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Alexandra Reese's Growth Guide

Actionable insights to improve your leadership, life, and impact

The best leaders coach (1, 2). Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft; Sheryl Sandberg, CEO of Facebook; and the C-Suite of P&G are among the many leaders who've achieved wild success by leading as coaches.

If you're ready to experience the transformational power of Coaching Leadership in your own life, then this Growth Guide is for you. In it, I share: 

  1. The four steps to becoming a Coaching Leader
  2. A special invitation to my new Coaching Essentials for Leaders* program, an engaging and highly-interactive experience to sharpen your coaching skills to unleash the energy, creativity, and performance of you and your team.

This program is the culmination of 12+ months of research, development, and experimentation. The program includes three engagement paths, beginning with an a la carte option for those who want to dip their toe into Coaching Leadership and ending with an immersive personalized experience for those ready to become Coaching Leaders. Get more information and register here!

*Leadership is not a title; it’s a calling. If you seek to inspire, motivate, and develop others, you’re a leader. And I welcome you to consider this program.


The journey to Coaching Leadership is a virtuous circle

It involves iterating through four steps to evolve your skills over time.

Here is a brief overview of each step in the virtuous circle:
  • Opportunity: Identify an opportunity to coach.
  • Skill: Identify the skills needed to coach that opportunity.
  • Practice: Learn by doing. If you're new to coaching, you might ole play the opportunity with your coach or a trusted partner. Once you're more seasoned, you may jump straight into coaching the opportunity.
  • Feedback: Ask for feedback every time you practice coaching in a new opportunity space or using new skills. This is where the real learning happens. 
The first time you work through this circle, it may feel uncomfortable and clunky. Just like the first time you rode a bike! With more practice, you'll be able to work through successive circles with greater comfort and ease. Eventually, the process to identify opportunities, sharpen your skills, coach, and get feedback will become intuitive and second-nature.

Most leaders think they're coaching. They're not. 

Coaching Leadership is challenging to master, as illustrated in this fantastic piece in HBR:

Coaching well can be hard for even the most competent and well-meaning of managers. One of us (Herminia) teaches a class to executives that makes this clear year after year. The executives are given a case study and asked to play the role of a manager who must decide whether to fire or coach a direct report who is not performing up to par. The employee has made obvious errors of judgment, but the manager has contributed significantly to the problem by having alternately ignored and micromanaged him.

When presented with this scenario, nine out of 10 executives decide they want to help their direct report do better. But when they’re asked to role-play a coaching conversation with him, they demonstrate much room for improvement. 

They know what they’re supposed to do: “ask and listen,” not “tell and sell.” But that doesn’t come naturally, because deep down they’ve already made up their minds about the right way forward, usually before they even begin talking to the employee. So their efforts to coach typically consist of just trying to get agreement on what they’ve already decided. That’s not real coaching—and not surprisingly, it doesn’t play out well.

Most leaders think they're coaching, when they're not. Asking leading questions is not coaching. But it can be incredibly hard to trust the process, appropriately frame a coaching opportunity, ask truly open-ended questions to empower the coachee, and get the feedback needed to improve. So, most leaders never get over the initial learning curve to realize the transformational power of coaching.


Below are three better practices to help you accelerate through your journey to Coaching Leadership.


Better Practices to accelerate through your journey to Coaching Leadership

#1 Start with the right opportunities

The best opportunities to coach are ones in which there is no "right answer." I recommend you begin coaching only when the opportunities are low risk, or stress might get in the way of your success. 

You can also coach opportunities where there is a clear "right answer." I recommend looking at these as developmental opportunities for both you as a coach and your people as problem-solvers. 

#2 Be open about your intentions

Most leaders stop trying to coach before they every truly begin. That's because coaching often feels clunky and uncomfortable at first (it did for me!). So, for fear of embarrassment or "making a mistake," many leaders quickly revert to a more comfortable mentor or advisor role.

To help ensure your success, be open with your intentions and invite support. When you see an opportunity to coach, pause to say something like: 

I'm learning to better support my people as a coach. This seems like a great opportunity to practice those skills, and create space for you to explore better solutions to this situation then I might have. How open would you be to having a coaching conversation? If so, I'd love your feedback when we're done.

This invitation will both diffuse any stress you might be holding (because there's no pressure to "get it right") and create accountability. You've said you're going to try this new way of leading; now you must stick with it!

As an added bonus, this invitation will also strengthen your relationship. In inviting support and feedback, you're signaling that you feel safe being vulnerable and value that other person's unique perspective.

#3 Practice with a trained coach

Practicing and getting feedback from a trained coach is the fastest and most effective way to build your coaching skills. Through my experience both learning to be a coach and training others to coach, role playing coaching scenarios has been the most impactful element of the training experience.

Your people can give you feedback on how they experienced your coaching. They won't likely be able to spot specific developmental opportunities or teach you new skills. For that type of feedback, you need a trained coach.


Ready to become a Coaching Leader?

If you're ready to develop your own coaching skills, I want to support you. Please consider joining my Coaching Essentials for Leaders program. 

Through this unique experiential program you will learn and practice foundational coaching skills to:

  • Cultivate confidence, ease, and joy in pursuit of your vision
  • Align your intent, actions, and impact
  • Unleash the energy, creativity, and performance of your team (personal or professional!)
  • Strengthen relationships through courageous conversations
  • Navigate conflict with an empowered mindset
  • Create a learning organization
  • Improve strategic agility and innovation

The program consists of four experiential workshops, with optional group and 1:1 coaching enhancements to accelerate your growth and development. There are multiple options to engage. You can attend just one workshop to sharpen your skills in that area. Or you can sign-up for the full immersive experience to ensure you get the absolute most from this opportunity--and your leadership!

It's your journey. I'm here to help you make it the best one possible!


Additional Opportunities to Partner

One-on-one and Team Coaching: If you're ready to rapidly transform your leadership, life, and impact, I'm here to guide the way. As your coach, I'll work with you (and your leadership team, if desired) to clarify your vision and purpose, set bold goals, build an actionable strategy, and cultivate the mindset, beliefs, and behaviors necessary to achieve sustainable results with confidence, ease, and joy. If you're ready to improve your coaching skills, one-on-one and team coaching are great opportunities to do so.

Your Leadership Mindset Blueprint: What could you achieve if you felt engaged, motivated, and fulfilled--even when times are tough? How would you show-up differently for yourself, your team, and those you love if you felt calm, confident, and in control of your actions and reactions? How would it feel to navigate life with the support of someone who only has your best interests at heart, who listens without judgment, and who supports you in creating the life and legacy of your dreams? This life is possible! And it starts by shifting your mindset. This 4-hour experience will empower you to do just that with dramatic results. Read more and sign-up here.

Growth Advisory: You've been working diligently to grow your organization, but have yet to achieve sustainable results. Or perhaps you've done exceptionally well and are ready to take things to a new level. I can help you hone a compelling vision and strategy, then execute with confidence, ease, and joy. 


Links to Past Editions

Here are links to the first 17 editions:

Feb 2: The #1 investment you should make to drive outstanding performance in 2023

Jan 26: The do's and don't's of transformation leadership in 2023

Jan 19: To hire a GREAT coach/ consultant, avoid these 3 mistakes

Jan 12: Four strategies to achieve goals with greater confidence and ease

Jan 5: The secret to setting effective goals

Dec 22Glean powerful insights from 2022 w/ this 3-step reflection process

Dec 15: Nine proven strategies to eliminate stress

Dec 1: Three things you can do now to boost success in 2023

Nov 17Eight signs you've got a feedback problem & how to fix it!

Nov 10: Make performance management your unfair advantage

Oct: 1/ The four elements of a high-performing leadership team, 2/ Cultivate an empowered leadership mindset

Sep: 1/ Replan for Q4, 2/ Jumpstart growth through self-awareness, 3/ Three Qs to save you BIG in your next strategy process 

Aug: 1/ Adapt your strategy process, 2/ Support your mid-level managers, 3/ Halt your mid-career crisis

Jul: 1/ Win with values, 2/ How to get hybrid work right, 3/ Vacation like a European

Jun: 1/ The mid-year review, 2/ Sharpen your creative skills, 3/ Win through failure

May: 1/ Prepare for downturns; 2/ Better, faster decisions; 3/ Embrace difference to improve performance

Apr: 1/ The Q1 review, 2/ Prime yourself for success, 3/ Focus your innovation investments for impact


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