Technology, Engineering and Manufacturing Leaders: Facing Down Your Coaching Fears
To someone who has been successful in business by leveraging their technical skills and doing it “their way”, the value and benefits of coaching aren’t always obvious
I’ve noticed that some entrepreneurs and business leaders in the technology, engineering and manufacturing industries will run from the idea of having an external professional coach – and by doing so, they may be underestimating the value that coaching can bring to their organizations.
These people often establish and lead successful businesses founded on their own ideas, combined with strong technical skills and innovative technology platforms. After a period of organic growth, their business can hit a plateau if they don’t evolve from being a technology-focused leader to a people-engager and adapt the culture of their growing organization to meet new demands.
When growth starts to flatten out, these business leaders often feel at a loss for what to do next. At a certain point, company founders need to reframe their perceptions of how they lead their organizations. What made their company a successful start-up won’t necessarily make their company a thriving mid-size organization.
This is the critical point where leaders need to inspire and motivate their people to bring new ideas forward and try new things. They may not realize it, but leaders who find themselves in these circumstances may need to develop a new leadership style and presence, which means establishing personal trust with their team, as well as trusting in the capabilities, skills and motivations of their team members – have trust and be trusted
Instead, what often happens is that these very technically-competent, successful people take on an attitude that they should remain at the centre of everything – after all, they’ve successfully brought the company this far.
Some feel they should have all the answers when it comes to any aspect of their business. It’s difficult for them to admit they need find a new leadership style that will take their company to the next level.
Some fear they will appear weak by seeking advice or coaching. Some of these fears derive from old beliefs that stress “making it on your own”. Many leaders believe there is a stigma against asking for help from a coach. They fear that working with a coach might diminish their authority and call into question their ability to lead.
Breaking The Barrier
Smart leaders know that these days, elite athletes and thought leaders seek coaching. It’s not an admission of failure – it’s a willingness to be even greater! t takes a courageous leader to say to their employees, “I don’t know what to do next. Let’s work together to come up with some new ideas and decisions on where we’ll go next.” A professional coach will not tell them how to run a successful business because they’ve already proven they know how to do that. A coach, however, will help a leader find the voice and trust that permits them to confidently have this dialogue with their team.
For a successful technology-oriented leader, shifting the framework of your thinking about coaching isn’t that much of a stretch. It actually aligns quite well with how most entrepreneurs tend to behave naturally: courageously innovating, taking risks, and demonstrating thought leadership. Coaching can often be the key step in growing your business and taking your leadership to the next level.