How a Coaching Style of Leadership Can Help Employees Take Ownership & Responsibility

Coaching Style of Leadership

Earlier this year, Coaching at Work Magazine featured a programme I am working on as a case study in an article they called “The Ripple Effect”.  If you are a subscriber, you can read the full article here.

Or read on to learn more.

In 2008, Mark McKergow, the Director of sfwork, invited me to be the Programme Director for a‘Solutions Focus Coaching for Leaders’ programme for Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP).

AWP recognised that a key role of senior leaders is to support and develop levels of management and leadership at all levels.  So they wanted a programme that would help these leaders adopt a coaching style of leadership with their staff.

I have been privileged to deliver the programme for eleven groups of managers, with the twelfth group now underway.

The programme uses the Solutions Focus (SF) coaching model, OSKAR – a valuable way for managers to develop a coaching style of leadership as it provides them with a set of tools they can use rather than a prescribed process.  This gives them the flexibility to use the tools in many different circumstances and in short periods of time rather than waiting for an illusory serious coaching session which never arrives.

The programme consists of a two-day “Solutions Focus Coaching for Leaders” workshop to introduce managers to a coaching style of leadership and the OSKAR model.  After the workshop, the managers begin using a coaching style of leadership in their roles.  They come back together for two review workshops to discuss how the tools and techniques can be applied to specific management challenges such as managing performance, developing teams etc.  They also receive six months of individual support from an external coach to facilitate their own personal development.

How a Coaching Style of Leadership Has Helped

Managers have benefited considerably.  They spend less time talking about problems and why “it’s not fair”.  Instead, they use their new-found coaching style of leadership to get others to think for themselves and to recognise the skills and knowledge they have to move forward.  There has been an observable decrease in anxiety and a noticeable positive impact on ability and action, a can-do attitude.  There has been clear recognition that small steps help create progress.

Managers found they started to use the skills on themselves in a form of self-coaching so they too find their own solutions to problems with positive results.  All of these developments have helped increase their confidence and helped them feel more in control.  This led them to feel less stressed and be more efficient and effective

As more managers complete the programme they have seen the positive effects rippling through the organisation.  These include:

  • Less negativity.
  • A more positive culture
  • Team members empowered and energised, giving everyone more time.
  • Staff becoming more self-reliant and less dependent
  • People feeling more positive and enjoying work, therefore, being more proactive
  • Greater progress being made.  Things moving forward
  • Improved relationships
  • More frequent celebration of progress
  • More action, less discussion


AWP, like most organisations, is going through tough and challenging times.  Solutions Focus coaching isn’t a silver bullet but it’s helping them make progress in tough situations and has given leaders a set of tools to help them when they’re stuck.  You can find out more about the principles behind Solutions Focus Coaching here.

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