Leaders are naturals in developing people around them, because they aim to serve others. They do that by investing the time to get to know their people and understanding their strengths and weaknesses. Leaders are good listeners. They spend more time listening than talking. By listening, they have a deeper understanding of their people’s capabilities.
There are a couple of ways in which leaders can develop their people. The two most common ways are mentoring and coaching. In order for a leader to use each of these methods, they need to have experience and background. It is important that they are competent. When does a leader use one over the other? A leader uses experience and knowledge to help or guide a less experienced or knowledgeable individual. The mentor will use his/her expertise to get the person up to speed and share their experience, while coaching is used with qualified people who have experience. Done right, coaching can help improve the effectiveness and performance of the coachee. The coach uses his/her ability to ask the right questions that make the coachee think through the situation help them come up with the answer. A coach asks pointed questions that hold the coachee accountable for their actions. In coaching, the person being coached is challenged with questions that make them dig deep and come up with the answer that can help them move forward.
While a leader coaches and mentors others, they themselves also have mentors and coaches that help them continue to help them develop. A leader believes in continuous improvement and dedicates time to develop them. Leaders always give back to others. It is this commitment that makes them special. To raise others we must equip ourselves with the skills that make us capable to help others. Remember that leadership is about giving.