The World’s #1 Executive Coaching and Business Coaching Blog (2017-2021)
Practicing Leadership Skills May Not Feel Natural: Why It’s Necessary
Practice your leadership and business coaching skills through positive repetition, even if you feel it goes against your natural inclinations. Improvement is a process that requires you to move out of your comfort zone. It is, however, your only path to excellence.
We call a business coaching practice a “practice” because we assume that one can never fully master the skills and actions a business coach uses to make a positive impact on clients. The business landscape is fluid and continuously evolving. Thus, business coaching needs to evolve as well to continue fulfilling its purpose.
Every leader wants a skilled business coach capable of delivering the best results, but such coaches aren’t born with that ability. They emerge from the forge of experience, molded and wrought into their present, highly capable form through practice and more practice.
The Link between Practice and Performance
Science has always equated practice with performance. Whether we are looking at music, sports, or any other human activity requiring a high degree of skill and coordination, practice seems to trump raw talent.
The same goes for leadership and business coaching. The difference is, however, that while everyone acknowledges the importance of practice in other areas, in the business coaching sphere, we are reluctant to admit this same fundamental truth. For some reason, practicing leadership and business coaching skills feels unnatural.
Why Practicing Leadership Skills Feels Unnatural
Leadership can feel awkward due to a phenomenon called the authenticity paradox. To become a better leader by improving and developing your inner and outer core leadership competencies, you need to transcend your comfort zone. In a way, you need to defeat who you have always been to give birth to a new, improved version of yourself.
This process requires adopting behaviors that may seem unauthentic. Paradoxically, to become your best, most authentic self, you have to do things that make you feel like an impostor.
In the context of intelligent leadership, authenticity can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, leaders should strive to be authentic in what they say and do. On the other, however, some may be tempted to use authenticity as an excuse to avoid leaving their comfort zone.
Practicing new leadership skills requires you to leave your comfort zone. At times, it may make you feel exposed and fake. And it most certainly goes against your natural inclinations.
Let’s Not Confuse Practice with Practice Management
Practice management comprises the sum of skills and the knowledge required to run a business. As I have described in my blog posts and books, practice management hands business coaches the nuts and bolts to run their business. Such nuts and bolts include record keeping, taxes, and marketing.
Practicing leadership and business coaching skills, on the other hand, refers to building hands-on experience through positive repetition in a safe environment as preparation for a real-world situation/challenge.
Practicing Your Leadership and Business Coaching Skills
Leadership skills are fine skills in need of constant training through positive repetition.
Part of my job as a leadership coach is to help clients identify their strengths and weaknesses, so they can then go to work on enhancing the former and eliminating the latter. Practice through positive repetition is an effective way to further enhance leadership strengths.
Positive repetition equals performance.
An example of practicing a leadership skill is questioning the validity of negative thoughts. Through persistent practice, you can turn this approach into a habit that will help you consistently defeat such thoughts.
To strengthen positive thoughts, you can memorize and recite a list of self-affirming thoughts, such as:
- I am a good leader.
- People respect me.
- I can handle anger.
- I contribute to the common cause.
Through constant practice, you should also turn the detailed visualization of positive end results into a habit.
As part of a complete leadership development plan, your unique development needs should not focus on your weaknesses alone but also on your strengths.
Why Practicing Your Leadership Skills is Necessary
Excellence is not an act. It is a habit or rather, a collection of positive habits. You can only develop such habits through persistent positive repetition, AKA practice.
Browse through my books if you want to develop your leadership or business coaching skills.