15 Leadership Lessons Coaches Wish They Knew When They Started The

Updated: Jul 21, 2020

15 Forbes Coaches share the leadership lessons they wish they knew when they first started.

Read Complete Article | https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2019/10/24/15-leadership-lessons-coaches-wish-they-knew-when-they-started-their-careers/#7c63121161e8

Being a leader in your industry can be highly rewarding, but it can also come with its own unique challenges. Sometimes, though, these challenges may not become clear until you’re actually in a leadership position.

As respected professionals in business and career coaching, the members of Forbes Coaches Council have learned invaluable lessons about leadership along their professional journeys. We asked a panel of them to share some surprising things about leadership that they wish they knew when they started their career. Their best responses are below.

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2. Building Relationships Is Essential

Relationship-building is one of the key elements of being a leader. I learned this midway through my career and this awareness really aided me in learning more about my own self-awareness and my impact on others. Learning your blind spots can make you a leader. Ignoring them will inhibit your growth. - Dan Ryan, Ryan Search & Consulting

4. Leadership And People Management Are Different Skills

Leadership and management are not synonymous. Leadership is the action of leading a group of people or an organization, while management is the process or responsibility of running an organization. In order to operate a functional organization, a leader must also be a great people manager. This starts by assigning tasks according to people's strengths and cultivating growth opportunities. - A. Margot Brisky, ELDA4U, LLC

5. Leadership Is About Letting Go

The more you hustle to be right, impress, be liked, win and maintain control, the less effective of a leader you will be. Leadership is letting go of certainty, right answers, being liked, being perfect and winning at all costs. This is replaced by accepting you can only do the very best you can, building others around you, having boundaries, listening intently and risking personal failure. - Jenn Lofgren, Incito Executive & Leadership Development

7. Context And Timing Often Matter More Than Content

Most of the challenges leaders I have worked with face boil down to how well (or not) they are able to communicate—communicate their vision, their unique selling proposition, communicate to get buy-in from their teams and other stakeholders (including suppliers, partners, customers and investors). In many cases, context and timing matter more than the content that is being delivered. - Claudio Toyama, Toyama&Co.

8. Empathy And Listening Go A Long Way

What I wish I knew before starting my management career is that people, whether inside or outside of work, want basic things. We do not need to go to college to learn what those things are. We just need to care about people, exercise intuition about their needs and listen intently to what they are saying in their words and actions. Empathy and listening allow most any leader to thrive. - Heather R. Younger, J.D., Customer Fanatix, LLC

9. Lead From Behind

The greatest leaders lead from behind, elevating people around them and inspiring co-creation and autonomy. They are transparent with information, capitalize and magnify individual strengths for the greater good and push people out of their comfort zone while having their back in case they fall. Seeing the team as a collective as opposed to a group of many exponentially accelerates success. - Ashley Good, Ashley Good Coaching & Consulting

11. Invest In Your Own Evolution

One of the most powerful aspects of leadership to be learned is that leadership means we invest in our own evolution. That we seek out experiences and learnings that transform our emotional intelligence so that we can continually grow as effective leaders. This helps us to really embody feed-forward loops, communication, transparency and comfortability of learning from mistakes. - Dr. Denise Trudeau-Poskas, Blue Egg Leadership

14. You Can't Lead All People The Same Way

Being an effective leader doesn't mean you treat all people the same way. Using one leadership approach with all people can feel overbearing to some and unsupportive to others. The best leaders flex their leadership styles and tailor the level of direction and support they provide to match the competence level, confidence level and motivation needs of the person they’re leading. - Lisa Zigarmi, The Consciousness Project, LLC


Expert Panel, Forbes Coaches Council

Top business and career coaches from Forbes Coaches Council offer firsthand insights on leadership development & careers.


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