In a blog for the International Coach Federation, Diane Craig discussed leadership styles for aspiring leaders. Some are suited for short-term situations where immediate impact is needed. Others are best when there is time and space to provide leadership over the long term. Most pastors find themselves in situations where long term strategies of leadership can be implemented. Craig identifies those as Visionary, Participative, and Coaching.
According to Craig, a visionary style “establishes standards and monitors performance in relation to the larger vision.” This might be called an inspirational or aspirational style.
The participative leader “invites employees to participate in the development of decisions and actively seeks opportunities for consensus.” The goal here is to develop a smoothly functioning, cohesive team of people to accomplish something. This often complements a visionary style. Participative leaders tend to reward the team, not individuals.
The third approach is the coaching style. Craig’s assessment is that the coaching style “is focused on long-term development of team members by providing ongoing instruction and balanced feedback. Coaching leaders are prepared to trade off immediate results for long-term development of team members. A willingness to accept short-term failures and disappointments is indispensable for this style.”
As you might expect, I believe that the coaching style provides the greatest return on investment by the leader in the long term. Coaching leaders are playing the long game. They realize that transformation for individuals and groups is an incremental, step-by-step process with each success building on the next and each failure providing an opportunity for learning and innovation. Coaching leaders take the long view of individual and corporate development rather than looking for quick wins.
What difference would it make if you thought of yourself as a coaching leader?
(A version of this post appeared here on August 1, 2017)