Dan Foster, Vice President and Principal Coach at Building Champions, shares three mistakes he made on his journey to becoming a coaching leader.

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Dan Foster, Vice President and Principal Coach at Building Champions, shares his journey from being a manager to becoming a coaching leader.

Video Transcript

You know from the moment I became a manager, I knew I wanted to do things different from how I had been managed in the past. Not that I had terrible managers in my career. In fact, I’m still friends with a number of people who managed me early on.

But 15 years ago when I became a manager of people for the first time, there was something within me that said do it different. And I didn’t really understand what different looked like but I had worked with enough people who quit their job not because they didn’t like the company they worked, but rather because their manager didn’t know them and inspire them and develop them.

And I came to understand a key principle of leadership, which is people don’t leave companies, they leave managers.
And as I stepped into my first role as a manager, I knew I didn’t want to be a manager that people fled from. I wanted to be a manager that people were drawn to.

I wanted people to be drawn to my leadership style because they truly did feel known and inspired and they were becoming better versions of themselves working with me. Tall order, right? So I’m going to be honest with you, I had no idea how I was going to do it. So I just started diving into leadership development books and blogs and articles – you name it.

I was in search of how to be a different type of manager. And as I was on this journey, I stumbled across an executive
coaching company that helps leaders become what they call coaching leaders, and this really intrigued me and so I checked them out. I talked to their CEO, I talked to a few of their coaches and sure enough within a month I was being coached by them.

My coach and I worked on a lot of things to get me in the right place to where I could become a coaching leader.
Together we laid out a plan to help me transform from manager to coaching leader and our plan focused on three things, it focused on my purpose of becoming a coaching leader, a vision for where I saw my people, department and organization going as a result of me becoming a coaching leader, in creating a coaching culture for my team and third we focused on my strategy for engaging my direct reports in one-on-one coaching sessions.

So I just got to work and I doubled down on this whole idea of transforming myself from a manager to a coaching leader. I learned how to actively listen, ask powerful questions, build trust with empathy, and to help people see what was possible for their lives and for their career. And my coach helped me put in place the systems and the tools to make it all possible.

It was an amazing journey that delivered fun results, hitting record-breaking revenue, taking market share, opening new markets, achieving operational excellence awards. I had the opportunity to lead people who became future leaders themselves, that have achieved bigger and better things for their organization, for their careers, families and their community.

Now, I share my journey of becoming a coaching leader with you because I think a number of you out there see the problem with the same old way of doing people management and you want something different too. You want to be a better leader. You want to help people be more engaged at work and you want to make a difference in the world through your leadership, you know intuitively that better humans make better leaders.

So I invite you to start your own coaching journey. Your journey of becoming a coaching leader. It takes a lot of work, but it’s so rewarding to truly know your people, inspire them to step into their leadership calling. And to celebrate high levels of success together.

Now I want to share a ton of resources to help you along your journey. So just go to the link below and you’ll be able to download resources to help you be on your way.

And if you can, I want you to try and find a guide to help you along the way, it made all the difference for me, and I’m forever grateful to my coach and my friend, Barry Engelman for how he helped me become a coaching leader.

Thanks.

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When it comes to effective management and great coaching leadership, one-on-one meetings (1x1s) with your people are a necessity. Without regular, scheduled time with your people, it is nearly impossible to lead and engage them well.

Regular 1x1s allow you to stay connected to your team, hear what’s happening and important to them (both at work and in their life) and provide the support, encouragement and accountability that’s required of you as a leader.

So if you are a leader that isn’t currently having regular 1x1s with your people, that’s the first step – and honestly a non-negotiable. So as soon as your done reading this, make sure to get those scheduled ASAP.

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When it comes to what employees are looking for from their employers, the standard is higher than ever before. For my parent’s generation, most were content if they had solid wages, safe working conditions and a boss who didn’t yell at them too much.

Command and control were the standard leadership style, and career advancement, connection to a meaningful purpose and development opportunities weren’t on most people’s minds. But today they are front and center as employees wield more power, control and choice than ever before.

Now, employees change jobs and even careers at an unprecedented pace as they look for more meaning, connection and purpose. Before it was about a paycheck and the promise of a promotion; today it’s about finding a place where they belong, contribute meaningful work and have opportunities to grow and develop.

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Business leaders like to talk about creating a coaching culture because they’ve heard enough about it to know it’s a good thing. But they may not really know what it means or why it’s so important. 

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Most managers think they’re good leaders. After all, people don’t want to be bad at something, and if they think they are, they’ll generally work to improve or stop trying altogether.

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Being a coaching leader is about so much more than having good management skills. It requires a consistent commitment to learning.

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We want you to see yourself as more than a manager.

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In my years of coaching, I’ve observed that extraordinary leaders are fueled by conviction, courage and passion. They hold deep convictions about helping others to improve and have mastered the skills and disciplines needed to help others reach peak levels of performance.

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If you’ve ever attended an industry conference and heard a motivational speaker, then you know how those speakers have a certain way of getting us inspired.

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