Developing the ability to hold space for effective coaching conversations allows leaders to empower others to develop themselves and encourage independent problem-solving.
Leaders and organisations that develop coaching skills also see increasingly higher levels of employee engagement, motivation and efficiency.
In this episode, I talk to Kristy Battista, CTO at Allume Energy.
Together we explore:
- How to develop your coaching skills
- The benefits of the “leader as a coach” style
- The key to deep listening
- Important tips about asking the right questions
Download the GROW Model Coaching Tool here:
Scroll down for this episode’s transcript.
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More about Kristy Battista
Kristy is the Chief Technology Officer of Allume Energy, an Australian company with the world’s first solar sharing technology for multi-dwelling buildings. Kristy is an expert in leading tech and product teams that commercialise innovations that solve problems that matter. She has over 10 years of experience as a project leader with a product market fit focus at Planet Innovation.
Kristy has an authentic leadership style and a deep passion for creating inclusive environments and teams that give individuals the opportunity to thrive. She is using her passion and talent for coaching and developing people, to inspire engineers and the next leaders to use their talent and time to solve problems that truly matter to the world.
Connect with Kristy
Find out more about Allume Energy
Find out more about the Innovation Practice Program at Melbourne University
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Anne: [00:00:00]Hello, everyone. And welcome back to another episode of the Lead Like YOU! Podcast. Today I’m joined by my friend, Kristy Battisa, and she works for Allume Energy.
She’s actually the chief technology officer and it’s [00:01:00] an Australian company with the world’s first solar sharing technology for multi-dwelling buildings. Kristy is an expert in leading tech and product teams that commercialize innovations, that solve problems that matter. She has over 10 years of experience as a project leader with a product market fit focus at planet innovation.
She describes herself as an authentic leader with a deep passion for creating inclusive environments and teams that give individuals the opportunity to thrive. And she’s using that passion and talent for coaching and developing people to inspire engineers and the next leaders to use the talent and time to solve problems that truly matter to the world.
Kristy: Thanks. Anne, really happy to be joining me for this.
Anne: So exciting to have you here. And just a bit of background. So we actually met about a year ago, I would say. Cause we were both working for the Innovation Practice Program at Melbourne University.
And I was teaching the leadership class and you were actually working as something that we call a [00:02:00] cluster consultant, which helps and supports the teams throughout their projects. Which is really exciting. So we worked really closely together then, which was a lot of fun. I’m really excited to have you here on the podcast and I’ve always loved your passion for leadership and your passion for people.
So I can’t wait to really get into the topic today. And today we will be talking about a leader as a coach. So how can we lead and coach our people and what is really important and what matters about coaching and why this is something that we should all focus on a little bit. But before we go into that, maybe can you just share a little bit about yourself?
What is something that doesn’t come through your bio? What’s something that people don’t know.
Kristy: Oh, good question. This could be it a long conversation, but I’ll try and hit the highlights. I think for me, I was reflecting on these. It’s a lot of aspects to me, but I would say that I’m quite hardworking and responsible and very driven.
So I’m someone that really delivers on promises, but then that’s balanced out by [00:03:00] really fun, energetic and adventurous side. I love getting out in nature and having a lot of adventures and surfing and cycling and basically getting away from technology, which. Well, I’m sort of seen the opposite of what you expect an engineer to do.
The other thing is that I’m just really keen on learning. I’m a massive learner. And I just think that life has lots of lessons to teach us. And I really have a strong belief that we’re meant to grow and evolve and expand our awareness our whole life. And that’s something that. Yeah, it is a real integral value to me and something that comes through, I think in the way that I am in the workplace as well, I’m quite a deep thinker and very strategic.
So yeah, I really have that part of life and extremely passionate as well. So I’m very passionate about having an impactful and sort of purposeful life. And one of the ways that I really like to do that is by helping people and helping [00:04:00] people grow and evolve to be all that they can be and maybe have a little bit of a helping hand in their journey.
Anne: Amazing. That sounds so great. Thank you so much for sharing that. And could you share with the audience a bit about your career and your personal leadership journey? When did you start to become a leader? When did you know that was something that you wanted to do? And yeah. Just tell us a bit about your journey.
Kristy: Sure. Yeah, I think what, ultimately my career has been good. I think I’ve enjoyed most of it. It hasn’t necessarily been really planned out. I haven’t been someone that’s had a five-year or a 10 year goal. I’ve just gone with whatever opportunities been in front of me and tried to learn as much from that experience and do as well as I can in anything I’m doing.
And then when my learning is stagnating then look for the next opportunity, whether that’s like internal to the business that I’m within or if it needs to be external. But I think probably in summary my career has been about really getting good products that make a difference out into the world.
[00:05:00] And I’ve had a lot of different roles that have helped teach me all of the different aspects that are needed to do that, from having a concept, through to prototyping and then verifying a product and then manufacturing and product and making sure it’s commercially successful.
I started my career as an engineer on a team, so I did biomedical electronics engineering. So it was mainly in the medical space. And then I got the opportunity to have a stint in manufacturing. So I really learnt about the manufacturability of a product and in making sure that the design considers that.
The first leadership opportunity in a professional context was when I was the elite electronics engineer on the GAVI product that’s out in the world at the moment. So that’s an IVF product that is being developed by Planet Innovation.
So that I didn’t have a team under me, but it was my responsibility to deliver the electronics design aspect of that product. And then from there, I moved into a [00:06:00] project leadership role, which I think was the first really official, probably leadership role where it was my responsibility to drive a multi-discipline team to deliver something for a client and have that client interaction too.
So that would be the first formal leadership opportunity. But I’m a believer that you don’t need a formal title to be a leader. And, when I reflect, I was a fairly quiet child and teenager, wasn’t someone that was like very extroverted or talkative, but I always was very independent and very willing to walk my own path, even if that was not the path that was well-trodden. And I think that’s the thing that people sometimes can reflect on how do you lead yourself first to start with and then it can be like, even things that you think are small, where your peers might want you to captain a sporting team or something.
I had those leadership opportunities too. So I think I didn’t realize it, but life was molding me to be a leader and it [00:07:00] wasn’t that it was a goal, but it was naturally happening. But, yeah, sorry. Back to the planet innovation project leadership aspects. So that, yeah, that was really the first formal opportunity.
And I think that really grew me a lot, by doing that role. And then from there I actually went into a people management role. So that was more like basically having people reporting to me as the electronics resource group manager. And the difference there that I really reflected on, the project leadership was really about delivering an outcome for a client.
And it’s about then driving everyone to a goal. Some of the ways I would do that would be to care about their career and help them in their growth. But it was ultimately about delivery. Whereas when you’re a people manager to me that the flip was, it was more about their career development as individuals.
So it had a different aspect to it. And I think it was really good to experience both of those things because they’re different. And I’ll just actually I’ll share a little thing [00:08:00] that the manager that passed on to me said when I took on the role and I, it always stuck with me, he said, Make sure you show softness within, but strength outwardly.
So what he was saying is when you’re with your team and you’re looking after their development show a softness and a care and a nurturing for them. But then have that strength that when you’re dealing with external stakeholders, you can protect them. And I think that was something I really took into that role that I felt was really insightful that he shared.
And then from there I went into a product market fit role with Planet Innovation. So this was all about, are we delivering what the customer needs? Are we delivering what the market’s actually wanting and pulling? That was that. And then I moved onto Allume in 2019.
And I think Allume was just an opportunity to put all of that breadth of knowledge and skill and leadership capability into one role and really loving one time at Allume. I think it’s just a combination of a lot of [00:09:00] things I believe in . We’re trying to put a product out in the world that really preserves the environment and we’re really growing that.
That’s going really well. We’ve also got a really great culture that I believe is truly supporting diversity in the workplace and in the leadership team. Our products also helping community housing. So we’re helping people, where bills matter and where also, I think, significantly getting access to technology when normally they get it last, unfortunately. So I think there’s inequality in that. And then the other thing that is the thing that really excites me is there’s just so much opportunity for growth. So for every individual at Allume, there’s just so much opportunity for them to grow as a professional.
And then there’s the growth of the volume of product that we’re getting out into the world and the growth of the business. So I just think it’s super exciting.
Anne: Yeah, it sounds like a fantastic opportunity to be involved in something so new and, driving [00:10:00] innovation with such a great focus as well. So that must be very motivating
Kristy: It is, it’s very empowering and motivating and just I’ve been at Allume for just over two years now and it’s every six months my role just evolves because it needs to, because we’re going through different stages and that goes for everyone in the team.
Everyone has that opportunity to make their own destiny. And I just think that’s like super exciting and empowering and pretty relevant to the topic that we’re going to talk about today as well with the leader is coach.
Anne: For sure. And it’s such a, it’s such a great opportunity for you as well, because I’m sure that at the start, when you think about a CTO role, it can quite sound quite daunting, but if you actually grow with the business and this role is you now, right?
Cause you made that role, you created that role and you really grew that role over time. So that’s pretty amazing that yeah, you could make that your own and really give everything that you wanted for this role. Pretty cool.
Kristy: I think it’s, that’s a really good [00:11:00] comment Anne, because. I must admit that when I was thinking about this role and yeah, Cameron was keen to get me honest in this role.
I think my perception of what I thought a CTO was just what I’d seen before. And it wasn’t quite what I wanted to be. And I had a bit of a light bulb moment after working with Allume in a consulting role for a little while, but actually I can make this role what I want it to be and what I actually believe will result in success for both myself, but also the business.
And yeah, it’s been a very empowering experience for me because I have seen that it’s really working well. There’s a message in that I think for everyone that, to walk your own unique path, it doesn’t have to be the way that everyone else has done it before you.
Anne: Exactly. And that’s a little bit also, my message with my whole business with with regards to lead like you . It’s really about what can you do? What are your strengths? Who are you as a person and what are your unique capabilities [00:12:00] that you can bring to this role? And the way you fulfill this role will look completely different to whoever comes next or whoever was before you.
And That’s okay. We all need to make it our own. We need to work in our strength and give the best we got. And I think that’s beautiful that you really get that chance.
Let’s dive into our topics. So when we think about coaching as a leader, when would you say, when you look back at your career, at what point did you realize that coaching is a big part of becoming a leader?
Kristy: Yeah, it’s quite topical because I didn’t actually realize that it has a name. This might sound quite naive, but it’s only been somewhat recently that I realized there is this leadership style that is out there in literature called leader as coach.
And when I was reading about it, I was doing a bit of research about, how to get the best out of people and consider performance in different ways of measuring performance and KPIs and I came across this information and [00:13:00] I realized that’s my style leader as coach. It’s not my only style. I think leadership is very situational and you need to have a lot of tools in your toolkit, but I realized that leader as a coach is something that I’ve been doing a long time, and I just didn’t realize it had a name.
Anne: When you look back, do you feel like you’ve had a mentor or you had a previous manager of yours that somehow maybe taught you without telling you about it, did you have some good managers along the way that did that as well?
Or do you feel like it just came absolutely natural to you and you figured it out yourself that’s how you would lead.
Kristy: It’s probably a combination of both. I haven’t really thought about this question before. I think it’s something that’s quite natural within me to be a leader as coach.
Like I was talking about before, not even in formal leadership roles, it’s just something that comes from within me. But I think also there has been some examples of leaders that have had an aspect of this within their leadership style that’s probably resonated with me [00:14:00] or had a few moments where they’ve asked me that question.
That really puts the question back on me for me to find the answer. And it’s caused me to pause. So it’s probably been moments, you know how sometimes there’s these little moments that stick in your mind and they impact you as opposed to, I can’t pin it down to one person.
Anne: Yeah. But often that’s the thing, right?
Yeah. We learned from moments we learned from people that we meet even sometimes for short periods. And they suddenly have a massive impact without us even knowing or noticing until quite a while later. Interesting. So what does it mean for you to lead as a coach?
Kristy: I think work in summary, I think it’s about asking the right questions to help a team member find the answers that already lie with him.
So I think it’s a really good way to improve performance through goal setting of team members. And I was reflecting on I did a session with everyone in the team one-on-one about 2021 goal setting. And [00:15:00] what I got each team member to do in their own time was think about what outcomes they wanted to deliver in 2021 for the product and supporting processes, what professional development they wanted to achieve this year, and also , how they want it to be perceived.
So what was their personal brand around all of that? And then we had a coaching session around that about what actions can they take to move towards those goals? So a lot of it was driven by them. So it’s not me driving it. It’s me guiding and supporting and ask them some questions to get them to dig a bit deeper on how they’ll actually go with this plan, as opposed to me directing them what to do.
So I think. leader as coaches, probably the opposite to being a really directive commanding style, where I’m telling you what to do, go and do a, B and C. But also I think subtly it’s a little bit different to training or mentoring. Cause I see training [00:16:00] or mentoring has been me imparting knowledge on you that maybe you don’t have at the moment.
So coaching is really about asking questions and doing a lot of listening. And letting that team member find the answers themselves.
Anne: Yeah. Maybe we should talk about that a little bit more. The mentoring/ training versus coaching, because I do think there’s a bit of confusion there too, because I think as you said yeah, training and mentoring is about, I speak from my experiences.
I give you my advice. I give you what I learned, what I think to be true. Whereas coaching really is just about what do you know, what can you find within yourself? and just guiding them along without giving them much of an indication of where they should end and also allowing them to figure out their own way that might not be your way and allowing that to happen as well.
I think so when you started to look into that a little bit more did you start to develop yourself a bit more? How did you fine tune your coaching skills over the last few years?
Kristy: I feel I need to keep fine tuning my coaching skills Anne because I think it’s a [00:17:00] really difficult leadership style because.
One it’s really built on deep listening skills and deep listening is hard. It’s tiring. You have to be very self-aware and you have to realize it’s not about you and you trying to feel good about sharing your knowledge or being helpful or giving advice. And so there’s this constant like needing to pull back.
So I would say it’s it’s a constant evolution that it’s something I want to get better at. I think that it’s probably come from doing a lot of self-development and self-awareness work on myself that hasn’t necessarily even been career related. That’s something that it’s just a space that I’ve got very involved in probably in the last five years.
And. And it’s really, I think grown my awareness and my ability to connect with people and really see them and hear them. And influence them. So I’d say it’s a constant evolution.
Anne: And [00:18:00] everybody goes about it their own way, I think.
I do think that self leadership and self development is key because for you to coach someone else, you need to be very self-aware about yourself, your reactions, your behaviors, your emotions and how they influence others and how they impact others. Because even if you want to coach someone, but if you’re not quite aware or in check of what’s happening with your face and your emotions and your body language, or even how you behave in certain situations, it can have quite an impact on the coaching situation.
Cause it might not actually lead to where you want it to be because you might somehow be blocking it by not managing yourself well, so I do think that’s a big part and experiencing that for yourself to start to see what’s possible once you open yourself up to coaching and thinking and finding solutions for yourself.
I don’t think that leaders have to become official certified coaches to be a leader as a coach. But I think there’s quite a bit of good literature out there and also podcasts and also like short training opportunities that just give you [00:19:00] some skills to feel a bit more confident, I think, and just understand I guess the basics of coaching.
I know that I did like a few day course when I started leading first and I did like a leader as a coach which was fantastic because it gave you some really cool tool sets or toolkits
Kristy: I think one framework that’s popped into my head that I was taught by an external consultant is GROW. So in GROW stands for goals the reality, the options or opportunities, and then what’s next. So the idea is a team member comes to you with a goal that they want to achieve.
And through again, asking and facilitating the right questions you’re helping them become aware of the reality of the situation that they’re in right now, and then like work through some options and opportunities of how they could get closer to that goal. And then ultimately finish up with what’s next or some action steps.
And I think that’s a pretty simple framework that is easy as a coach to remember and yeah, [00:20:00] utilizing these conversations.
Anne: I actually do have a really good resource that describes the grow model and also runs you through example questions. So if anyone is interested, you can download that at annekoopmann.com/grow and it will take you to a really great PDF that summarizes it all.
What would be your best tips or advice of how we can get better at listening and what could be things that we might be doing wrong without really knowing, because sometimes we think, Oh yeah, I’m a good listener, but actually we’re not like, what do you think makes a good listener?
Kristy: I really liked this topic because I think so if you were just to go into a situation of, you’re about to have a session with a team member how you should go about it to really get into that deep listening mode. I think the first thing I would say is it’s about them not you. That’s the really the key thing. It’s not about your agenda. It’s not about what you think that they should be doing. It’s about really seeing them, hearing them and understanding them. And that’s [00:21:00] really that mindset that you need to go in with. So that’d be like the first starting point that can be challenging enough in itself.
The second thing would be to really think about, you need to be very present for them. I’m here with you. And to be present there’s a few things that I would think about. The first is the environment that you’re having these conversations in . It’s got to be free of distraction. So you shouldn’t be on your laptop at the same time.
You shouldn’t have phone calls or text messages coming through that should all be gone. And what I tend to do when I’m having these coaching conversations is actually get away from the office. So we’ll often walk to a cafe. I like to try and find like a cafe with a quiet courtyard or something that’s away again from distraction.
And it takes also the team member away from the day-to-day working week in the day-to-day discussions they’re having with you about, it’s okay, we’re in a different mind set now. The other thing for you as the leader, [00:22:00] that’s facilitating this conversation, you need to be in the right mindset.
So if you’ve come from a really like stressful meeting and you’re all amped up, That energy is going to be felt. So I like to think about like transition time to get into the zone of where I need to be in that deep listening mode. And I think the cafe works pretty well. Cause you’re walking over there with the team member for five minutes, having a bit of a social catch-up and you’re transitioning out of, let the past go.
And also try not to be thinking about the next meeting you’ve got that afternoon. Cause you just really need to be present. Think that’s really important. The other thing is that I think there’s a tendency to switch topics too quickly and often what you need to do for deep listening.
But the word deep is go a bit deeper on a topic. And this is also for the team member too. I think it’s just a normal human thing to jump to the next thing and you keeping it all pretty surface level, but if you just ask questions like. [00:23:00] “And what else?” On that topic, stay in that, that topic and see what else you can pull out because often it’s the things that are deeper, where the real insights lie or the real growth opportunities lie not the first sort of answer to the question.
The other one, which is really hard and I’m no way an expert in this is, be careful to not be thinking about what you’re going to say next. Yes. Especially like when you’re new to this whole coaching situation, it can be quite, I want to get this right. So you’re like, okay , what’s the right question to ask next.
And while you’re thinking about that, you’re not really hearing that person’s response. So that’s it, that’s a challenging one, but just try not to be thinking about what you’re going to be saying.
Yeah. And then I’d also think about, it’s important to build rapport and trust. If it’s your first week in a job as a new, you’ve got to be a bit aware that you need to build that foundation with a team member before you [00:24:00] start going really deep. So you can still be using coaching, but you don’t, you probably not going to get to the really deep topics on day one. So it, it’s important to just build that trust by just finding out what that, what they’re into? Just things that connect you as a human, because they have to feel that comfort with you to share this information. And I think I mentioned it before, but it’s just all about self-awareness. It’s like the number one thing for you to work on. And while you’re in that conversation, one thing you can be reflecting on today and by getting it right, if you’re talking a lot more than they are, you probably not hitting the nail on the head. So that’s a really quick way to go ” stop talking Kristy” , and it’s hard.
Like I just really want to acknowledge here that I am in no way, an expert in this. And I feel like it is deep listening is something that I want to get better at my whole life, because I just think it’s a really powerful skill. But I think it is so hard to [00:25:00] actually master and I don’t know that I ever will but I’ll try.
Anne: It’s great that you mentioned that because I think that’s just being real and like me even I work as a coach, but my coaching style is a lot also about mentoring and training. And I make that quite known because I’m really good at giving advice and I love giving advice, but I am really conscious of when I need to not say anything and for me, it’s hard because I love to talk. So it’s one of the hardest thing that I had to learn, even as a leader that it’s not about me. So what you said right at the start, I think that’s so key to just keep reminding yourself it’s not about you that you need to say the smartest thing in the room.
It’s not about you having a solution. It’s not about you and an outcome. One key thing that you learn when you do a coaching training that I’ve done a few different coaching trainings now as I shifted into this business of mine and like one key thing that you learn is really about don’t get attached to an outcome because then you make it all about you because then you make it I need to achieve an outcome in this session so that I feel like I succeeded.
Yeah, but [00:26:00] it’s not about achieving an outcome because the individual might not be ready yet. They might not be there yet. there’s no goal for you. The goal for you should be to just guide them and follow them as good as you can. And you don’t have a goal, an agenda of achieving an outcome. And I think that’s really key. That’s one thing that you really learn.
And then one other thing that I always like to mention when we think about listening and you said it as well, ” listen to understand, and don’t listen to respond” because what happens to all of us and that’s really all of us, right? We can’t stop it.
But while someone else talks, our mind keeps thinking and our mind keeps preparing an answer. Our mind forms opinions, our minds has new ideas that get sparked because you said one thing. And so it can be really hard to then not think, we think about our really cool answer that we’re going to say next.
And then we forget to listen as well. So it’s quite complex and yes, you’re right. It’s really not easy. And I think just be gentle with yourself because even just having the intention to listen to as good as you can, it’s already going to be 50, a hundred percent better than what [00:27:00] you do without being intentional about it and going into your conversation, trying to be present. So little steps and just being aware. And when you see that you’re, it’s a bit like mindfulness meditation. When you see your mind wander. And you observed that you’re thinking about something else just bring it back to the person. It’s okay.
Don’t judge it. Just bring it back and listen again.
Kristy: You’re right , even just having the intention is a good starting place because unfortunately, there’s a lot of leaders that probably don’t even have that intention to bring coaching into their toolkit.
So I think that’s going to be an evolution, I think, for the future workplaces.
Anne: For sure. And so the other part, obviously to coaching is so we have the listening and the deep listening, but then we also have these powerful questions as they call it. What would be your tips there? And what do you think is so difficult about asking the right questions?
Kristy: Again, it’s very situational. I think some of the simple ones that we talked about “what else?”, or “tell me more”, but that can be the [00:28:00] really powerful ones, because again, it’s really when you’re someone that always value yourself on knowledge, which in the engineering space, that’s how a lot of people value themselves.
And I’m seeing that actually my team at the moment that they’re so used to my value is linked to knowledge. But if you put someone in a space of leadership where it’s not about you knowing everything yourself, it’s about empowering other people, it can be very uncomfortable. So sometimes it is these really simple questions that might seem.
At first glance Oh, you don’t actually have anything interesting to say if you’re just saying what else? So tell me more, but actually there’s a real strategy behind it because you’re not leading the team member too much. You’re letting them take it where they want to take it. So that’s probably one aspect I think of powerful questioning. Yeah.
Anne: And I think another really important aspect there is that it needs [00:29:00] to be an open ended question. And that also is really hard. In the professional coaching training, We actually spent days on questioning, like days, because it’s so difficult to ask questions sometimes that are not leading the other to a certain opinion already.
It’s really important too, to just make sure that when you ask a question that you don’t put your opinion into the question and that you ask it open-ended so what would you do next? What’s your idea? Where would you go from here? But as soon as you ask questions it’s hard to think of an example now, but if you, sometimes we ask questions and we already giving the answer to the question . Then you already showing that you think that wasn’t the right way. Whether if you just ask, so what do you think about how this went? What do you think about what happened?
Kristy: I think really common scenario for me, when I use coaching is when a team member comes to me and says, Christie, what do you think I should do about X, Y, and Z?
When that person has actually had like [00:30:00] some mentoring and training to start with so that you go, actually, I have taught them this now. I will try. And again, I’ll just point out a side point when you’re busy, it’s very easy to fall back into the natural response of, Oh, go and do blah, blah, blah, and just give them the answer.
But you have to again, have the self-awareness to go wait a minute. This is a perfect coaching moment and say what do you think we should do about X, Y, and Z? That’s not leading. And it’s very open. So a lot of the time, the team of actually knows the answer. And so they’ll come back with, Oh, I think I’ll do blah, blah, blah. And it’s right.
Or you might just add a little bit onto it that there’s one aspect they haven’t considered or let’s talk about the scenario where they’ve completely not really hit the Mark. Then you can always follow it up with a question because maybe, it’s about designing something and they haven’t considered manufacturability.
You could say how do you think that design will impact manufactur? So again, you haven’t given [00:31:00] them the answer, but you’ve maybe like guided them a little into an area to think about. So I think what you were saying about the open questioning is really important.
Anne: Yeah. Another really important point that you just hinted there is also: coaching, it does take time and it does take a bit of patience. So if we’re busy, again, it comes to self-leadership. We can be busy and stressed and we have to remind ourselves, this can be a coaching moment and yes, this might take a few minutes longer for them to find the solution or walk away and do the things.
And yes, there’s a risk that they do differently to what I expect. But I think it’s about creating that space and managing your own anxiety and stress around that to allow for these coaching moments. Because if we give into our anxiety and stress and in certain leadership roles it’s always stressful, right?
You’re always busy. And so if you never Create that space and allow them to just figure it out and even make mistakes. I think you could do a whole episode on mistakes and failure, but like mistakes. That’s the real coaching, right? Allowing them to make mistakes, holding a safe space, [00:32:00] not judging them, not shaming them.
And then just helping them, talking them through it, helping them find another way. And from there, the learning is just massive and they will be like, all right, cool. I made a mistake, but I figured out the other answer. So I saved it. I repaired it. I fixed it and the new solution was even better.
So they can start to see that aha moment and feel that success for themselves. So I think it’s about being patient and creating that space. And you said it before, like being soft on the inside and a bit tougher on the outside, you it’s your role to hold the boundaries to the outside world to allow for the soft environment and the safe environment on the inside to allow them to try and fail and figure things out and take some time sometimes to get there and holding the boundaries to the outside world and all the deadlines and all the pressures. So I think that all really well together.
Kristy: It’s really a situation where you want to lead with heart. This stuff’s more about heart than head. And there’s a lot of times we’ve got to use [00:33:00] the head as well, but in this area, I really think it’s about feeling and connecting.
Anne: Yeah, exactly. And I think you talked about before that coaching kind of lies on the other side, on the opposite side of leading with command and authority, and you also mentioned yes, you have to have different styles in your tool kit.
I think that’s absolutely right. And there are moments where you have to go into command mode and where you have to be authority driven and you have to say what needs to be done now. Sometimes there is no time for coaching moments and you just need to be very directive.
But I think it’s just about being intentional about when we use that style and creating more space for coaching. So that then when we, when there are moments where we have to be more authority driven, it’s okay. We just need to get stuff done now. Something happened or, it’s about health and safety or big risk or financial risks.
Of course. Sometimes we got to take command. But it’s about how do we create the environment?
Kristy: I think it’s about when you think about the impact to the business of what’s happening in that moment. And sometimes [00:34:00] like you alluded to the impact is massive because it’s a safety thing or, your whole business is going to be taken down, if you don’t deal with it. That’s not a time where you’re going to have a coaching moment, but there are plenty of times when you can have coaching moments. And there’s times where if you really reflect on fear of failure and not being scared of failure. It’s actually okay.
Even the team member has a goal and they fail because they’re going to learn and it’s going to be better in the long run. And maybe the impact is something that you can work around. So I think we’ve got to be Yeah, careful to not try and be perfect. And I think that’s been part of my evolution as well, but I’m someone , like I said, at the beginning, I really like to deliver..
And I go around and catch all the balls that are going to hit the ground. And then, there’s a point where there’s only so many bowls that you can catch and. You don’t want to burn yourself out and you want to empower others and grow your impact because you can do a lot more if you’ve got a really high functioning team and it’s not all about you
[00:35:00] Anne: A hundred percent. So let’s talk about that a little bit more as we close to this discussion around coaching. So when we create that space and we managed to create those coaching moments, what are the benefits for an organization? It’s huge. So I just think leader as coach, it has clear benefits for the team member.
Kristy: It has benefits for the organization, but it also has benefits for you as a leader. So I think for the team member, it’s obviously a really empowering way to be led. I think everyone can self-reflect on when you figure something out for yourself, how much better that feels than if you’re told how to do it. I think team members are really confident and happy and inspired, and then they, their performance and growth is improving. Just winning all around.
And then from an organizational point of view, it creates a really goodlearning culture. That’s really healthy, full of energy and innovation and people being courageous and ultimately if you’ve got really high performing [00:36:00] employees and like these high-performance culture, that’s going to translate to business success.
And the other aspect I’d really touch on is people leave jobs because they’re not growing and this is shown in data, but it, I also just know it from people that I talk to in my network. People are more likely to leave a job because they’re not growing than to leave for things like salary.
And so I just think if you’ve got this leader as coach style and that team members growing, they’re less likely to leave. Cause they’re evolving all the time and it’s interesting. And then for you as a leader, this isn’t completely selfless. Yes, it’s very fulfilling and I get a real kick out of seeing people grow and, I just love it.
Just to see how happy they are, you’re also getting a greater understanding of your team members. Once you’re really building this rapport and doing this well, you get a deep understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, their fears, what’s holding them back, what makes them tick.
And then when you think about your collective [00:37:00] team, where are the skill gaps and where, what do I need to hire in next? So you have this really good understanding, but even more significantly, it gives you time, yes. We talked about coaching takes time, but the thing is, if I’m a really organized directive leader, maybe I can lead 20 people. And then I’ll just cap out because like I’m telling them how to do everything. But with leader is coach style you’re empowering them to go and figure out the answers. And there’s going to be a lot of things that they have more knowledge on than you. The world’s fast paced. I’m not arrogant enough to think that I’m going to know every single bit of information that comes through in every skill set that’s going to be needed in the future.
And so my impact can grow with the leader as coach style because it’s an empowering style. And then hopefully some of these people you’re empowering, they’re starting to coach people and all of a sudden it’s this pyramid of impact. So yeah, for [00:38:00] me that’s why it’s important to organizations. I think it’s going to be even more pertinent for the workplaces of the future.
2020 is taught us that we need adaptability, we need courage and we need innovation in workplaces and we’re going to need to be able to solve big problems. And to do that, we’re going to need that diversity of viewpoint and that knowledge and skillset across a broad group of people. And it can’t all lie within you as a leader.
So I just think it’s going to be gold.
Anne: Yeah, fantastic summary. I love that all , there’s nothing to add from my side. But yes, absolutely important. Thanks so much for summarizing all the benefits and just to close off our conversation of today, I always ask my guests, what does it mean for you to lead like you?
Kristy: This is a good question. I actually, I really like the name Lead Like YOU! Good job on that.
It’s obviously about leading in a way that’s unique to you because that’s where your, like your power lies. But I actually wanted to explain something I think [00:39:00] could confuse some people. Some people might think, but so-and-so is really angry and bitter and controlling.
Why would we want them to lead like them? The way I read it is that everyone is a good person and I’m underneath it all. And I think what you’re trying to say is when you’re leading from that place of goodness and light that’s in within all of us. . Do it in a way that’s uniquely you. And so that’s the way I read it, but sorry to answer the question about how, I lead like me.
I think, we probably touched on it a little bit throughout the conversation, but I think the key words I would say is I’m pretty down to earth. I really believe in equality. . I’m quite generous. So I think I’m quite generous with my time and knowledge. And I also try to be quite generous in how I judge people and give them the benefit of the doubt.
At least for a while, until maybe they’ve lost that trust. I try to be quite inspiring and also give clarity, so [00:40:00] clarity of like where are we going as a team and a business? This is the goal. But also what’s my expectation of you within that and make sure that throughout that journey, there’s constant feedback along the way.
Okay. Maybe the plans changed, let people know that, but also give them performance feedback so they know how they’re tracking and where they’re doing really well, but also where they could possibly improve. And then strategic, adaptive, and yeah, just like very focused and driven too.
Thank you so much for summarizing that. And it sounds like you’re quite aware of your strengths and your values, and that’s exactly what the Lead Like YOU! Is all about. It’s understanding who we are so that we can lead with our strengths. And then we actually don’t end up being angry or aggressive because we are quite confident and don’t feel as stressed or threatened by others.
And we can just lead from a place of positive energy. Instead of, from a place of fear and anxiety yeah. Perfect. Beautiful. Thank you so [00:41:00] much for being a guest on my podcast. I loved everything that you added to this conversation. It was so great to hear from you and yeah, I’m looking forward to connecting with you going forward and it was so great to have you on here.
Kristy: Appreciate it. Now I am going to do more leader as coach
Anne: have a great day, and I talk to you soon.