Coaching Leadership Style: How Executive Coaches Help Leaders Succeed

Mike Pelfini — 01 February 2023

Coaching leadership style is a process of broadening those innate preferences to accommodate different approaches.  Developing a more malleable style and adapting to new situations can be crucial to a leader’s success.

The different approaches leaders use to motivate and guide their teams have been called “leadership styles.”  While there may be as many individual styles as there are leaders, a number of broad categories have emerged in the literature.  These include autocratic, democratic, and delegative (or laissez-faire), each with its own strengths and limitations.

Leaders tend to employ leadership styles rooted in their innate preferences, personalities, and backgrounds. 

Coaching leadership style can help leaders to identify their natural leadership styles, and to expand their competence with less familiar or less comfortable styles.  The goal of the executive coach in this situation is to build on the leader’s existing strengths and open the door to new possibilities.

Here are some of the common leadership styles and their uses, categorized into two groups: The first is regarded as “preferred.” The second is often considered “less preferable.”  In reality, every leader resorts to both categories depending on the circumstances:

“Preferred” leadership styles:

Coaching Leadership

Coaching leaders view their teams as reservoirs of talent to be developed.  Through regular feedback, coaching leaders recognize and nurture an individual’s strengths while offering motivational direction to improve weaknesses. Leaders may also provide challenging projects to promote growth. 

Transformative Leadership

Transformational leaders, also known as visionary leaders, are strongly committed to organizational purpose and big-picture goals. They tend to set objectives by mapping out where the company is going and what will happen when they get there.

Democratic Leadership

Democratic leaders, also known as participative leaders, tend to seek employees’ input before making a decision. The democratic leader might present a problem and get suggestions from the entire team before establishing an official course of action, but still makes the final decision.  

“Less preferable” leadership styles:

Autocratic Leadership 

Autocratic leaders, also referred to as authoritarian leaders, establish a clear vision of an end goal and how to achieve it. They set specific guidelines and clear expectations for what, when, and how tasks should be done. These leaders traditionally expect others to accept their instructions at face value and act on them immediately.  Autocratic leadership is effective when immediate results are needed or when employees need clear guidance.  

Pacesetting Leadership

The pacesetting leader sets ambitious standards and expects employees to meet those goals in the exact manner they’ve laid out. These leaders expect productivity and high-quality outputs from employees, and they may step in to ensure things are done correctly and on time.  The pacesetting leader sets ambitious goals with a clear and focused effort, so employees know exactly what is expected of them.

Delegative (or Laissez-faire) Leadership

Delegative leaders, also known as laissez-faire leaders, provide minimum guidance. This allows employees to solve problems on their own through their own methods.  While employees make decisions, delegative leaders should still be available to discuss the decisions as needed.  

ForeMeta empowers leaders through coaching leadership style

Each of these leadership styles has its uses and can be beneficial to the team in the right circumstances.

One of the benefits of coaching leadership style is that it provides leaders with the tools to vary their approach depending on the needs of their team and the situation at hand. For example, a leader may use an autocratic approach to make a quick decision in a crisis situation, while using a more democratic approach to build consensus on a long-term project.

We at ForeMeta empower leaders through coaching leadership style, so leaders can gain the skills and confidence they need to adapt their leadership style to fit the needs of their team and the organization. This can help them achieve better outcomes and build more cohesive, effective teams.

If you are an executive who would like to unlock your full potential, or are looking for ways to improve leadership and communication in an enterprise, or want to take the next step in developing your organization, ForeMeta Coaching can help.  Contact or call 800-942-3949 to schedule a consultation.

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