The Dark Art of Leadership Coaching

The Dark Art of Leadership Coaching

Ron Lawson, Senior Lecturer in Coaching and Leadership at the University of Cumbria, discusses the trick to creating great leaders.

It has been long established in the management literature that coaching and leadership are intrinsically linked in the effective development of professionals, but what is the secret, magical alchemy that goes on behind closed doors in those intimate one-to-one coaching interventions, that can turn someone into a highly motivated, inspiring and awesome leader?

This was a question brought to class by a student studying a level 7 programme in Executive Coaching and Mentoring at the University of Cumbria.

I have to confess that, whilst I quite like the idea of wearing the dark robe and the equally dark attitude of Severus Snape and delivering my coaching masterclasses as a dark arts lesson, I’m afraid there is no wizardry at play (well, not much). However, the base-line answer to the question could be answered by the Harry Potter author J K Rowling, in that it is all about good storytelling.

We are the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and believe. As the old adage goes - if we believe we can do something, or we believe we can’t, we are exactly right. This is particularly relevant in leadership development.

We find that no matter how inspired or aspirational an individual may be regarding their leadership journey, if there are elements of their internal story that aren’t fully believable, they will find it difficult to achieve their leadership goals.

If there is any wizardry at all on the curriculum for our coaching and mentoring programmes it is in developing the ability of coaches to help their coachees to craft a new, better, and believable internal story. After all, what is a belief but a story we have told ourselves so many times that it becomes our truth.

Armed with a new personal story that has converted limitations into possibilities and fears into dreams, a leader will leave the coaching intervention with the confidence to fully utilise all of the resources at their disposal, to gain the knowledge and skills needed to build a successful future.

In my book, that is the magic of leadership coaching.

If you are interested in becoming a leadership coach, why not come and share the magic on our ILM Level 5 Management Coaching and Mentoring course, or the ILM Level 7 Executive Coaching and Mentoring course. These courses would suit professionals looking to develop their expertise and credibility in the fields of coaching and mentoring.

Or you can choose to extend your current skills even further on our MSc Coaching and Mentoring Degree.

Wands and owls, whilst cool, are not required.