My definitions of words that seem to get thrown around a lot these days…
Coaching [ˈkəʊtʃɪŋ] noun is the art of enhancing another person’s performance through questions that lead to self-discovery. Coaching is not consulting or mentoring and it is not a euphemism for teaching. However, the best consultants, mentors and teachers do use coaching skills; e.g., active listening, challenging, using open questions to provoke new ideas, reflecting and mirroring back the essence of what the other person has been communicating, giving feedback and telling the hard truth.
Coaching helps people find their own solutions to the toughest problems they face; the kind of problems that don’t have an answer in a book somewhere. Coaching helps people discover why they are struggling with a problem and find the solution that is best for them, even if it looks completely different to another person’s solution to the same problem. A skilled coach does not give advice or offer solutions to her client’s problem, but provides a much more sustainable service; helping the client unlock his or her own solutions.
Leadership [lē′dər-shĭp′] noun is the awareness to understand what is needed in any situation and the courage to act accordingly. It is a combination of innate strengths and learned behaviors. The most important work to become a better leader is to understand yourself; what drives you, what is important to you, what “pushes your buttons”, what are your unique strengths, where do you get in your own way. Knowing all this about yourself helps you understand your impact on the people and situations around you. The world is becoming more and more complex and fast-changing. There is not one leadership formula or method that will always work. It is important to be solid in one’s own self and therefore have the ability to respond to every situation, rather than to just react.
Whole Leadership [ˈhōl lē′dər-shĭp′] noun is an idea and a philosophy on leadership co-developed by Margo and her colleague Arzum Akduran. Whole Leaders are the kind of leaders who respond skillfully to a huge variety of situations. Perhaps it is easiest to explain Whole Leadership by saying what it is NOT. Some leaders have just a few default ways of responding to every situation. And they may be very successful with those ways. Take the no-nonsense, hard worker who will not take ‘No’ for an answer and is always willing to go the extra mile. This person is excellent in high-pressure, high-stakes environments and may be the first person you put in front of a demanding client or choose to head a complex project. However, that same person may freeze when having to talk to a key employee who, for some reason, has broken down in tears on the job. A whole leader is comfortable in both situations. Whole Leadership is being able to bring out classically masculine qualities such as action, task-orientation, driving forward as well as classically feminine qualities such as caring, listening, relationship-building. Both men and women can and do exhibit both masculine and feminine qualities in their leadership. Whole Leadership is doing so consciously and intentionally. It is about embracing both sides and experiencing balance.