This article is part of The Ascender, the Highrise platform for articles and resources.

What Is Leadership Coaching- Ultimate Guide For Leaders

Andrew Langat
December 11, 2023
A diverse group of professionals are engaging in a leadership coaching session in a bright office environment.
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Leadership is often equated to a marathon. It is not how we start but how we finish. Alex Ferguson, the great Manchester United manager and Britain's most decorated sporting manager exemplifies this maxim.

During his first few years in management, he faced typical challenges and was very close to getting dismissed in the 1988/1989 season.

Over time, he learned the ropes of management, crystallized his vision to maximize performance, and recruited world-class talent, and the results improved on and off the pitch.

Like Alex, every leader can improve performance and create a growth mindset by working with a leadership or executive coach or participating in leadership coaching programs. Through such initiatives, a leader can get a fresh perspective that will ultimately improve their and the team's performance.

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What Is Leadership Coaching and How Does It Work?

Leadership coaching is a personalized and transformative development program designed to empower leaders —typically senior executives — to reach their full potential.

Leadership coaching can help improve leadership abilities, achieve career goals, and foster personal and professional growth. This can then be leveraged to improve a team's performance.

There is a real return on investment for organizations that invest in leadership coaching programs, including executive coaching and leadership development. One study showed that return on investment (ROI) can be as high as 788%.

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How Does Leadership Coaching Help Leaders Perform Better?

Leadership coaching helps leaders perform better by providing a confidential and personalized support system for self-improvement and skill development.

This one-on-one guidance during a coaching session enables leaders better to understand their strengths, weaknesses, and leadership styles and seek out and achieve growth opportunities while setting clear, measurable goals for improvement.

For example, Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, attributed much of his success to leadership coaching. He worked with a coach to enhance his leadership skills, leading Google through significant growth and transformation, ultimately achieving remarkable results for the company and himself.

Leadership Coaching for Leaders

Leadership coaching empowers leaders to make informed decisions, communicate more effectively, inspire their teams to meet and exceed business goals and adapt to changing circumstances, ultimately enhancing their performance and achieving better team effectiveness, impacting the entire organization.

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Benefits of Leadership Coaching for Individual Leaders

Benefits of leadership coaching for individuals

1. Improved Leadership Skills

Leadership coaching is a powerful tool for enhancing leadership skills, offering a personalized and tailored approach to leadership development. Through one-on-one interactions with a skilled coach, leaders can gain valuable insights into their blindspots, strengths, and effective leadership styles.

Leadership coaches help leaders set clear goals, identify areas for improvement, and develop strategies to overcome challenges. This individualized guidance fosters self-awareness and a growth mindset and encourages leaders to take ownership of their development.

A relevant example would be a CEO of a tech startup seeking leadership coaching to create a good workplace. The coach might assess the CEO's leadership style and communication, identify areas where they may be too directive, and help them implement strategies for better delegation and fostering a collaborative environment.

2. Increased Self-Awareness

Leadership coaching enhances self-awareness by providing leaders with a safe and reflective space to explore their strengths, weaknesses, and personal leadership styles. Coaches use various assessment tools, feedback mechanisms, and probing questions to help leaders understand their behaviors, motivations, and impact on others.

Through this process of directive coaching, leaders become more conscious of their blind spots and areas for improvement, which is the first step toward personal growth and effective leadership. For example, a manager participating in leadership coaching may receive feedback that highlights their tendency to micromanage their team, causing frustration among team members.

The coach would work with the manager to delve into the root causes of this behavior, fostering self-awareness about their need for control and fear of delegation.

3. Enhanced Motivation and Engagement

Leadership coaching enhances motivation and engagement by aligning leaders with personal and organizational goals, increasing a sense of purpose, and boosting confidence. Coaches help leaders identify values, passions, and long-term aspirations, allowing them to connect their work to their intrinsic motivations.

For example, consider a department head in a healthcare organization who, through a coaching process, improves patient satisfaction by enhancing team communication skills. Seeing rising satisfaction and positive interactions fuels the department head's motivation and commitment.

4. Improved Work-Life Balance

Leadership coaching can enhance work-life balance by helping leaders develop effective time management, delegation, and stress reduction strategies. Coaches work with leaders to identify priorities and help them create a work schedule that aligns with personal and professional goals.

By setting boundaries and learning to delegate tasks appropriately, leaders can prevent work-related stress from spilling over into their personal lives.

For instance, consider a high-level executive who often works long hours and brings work-related stress home. Through coaching, they learn to delegate more tasks to capable team members and prioritize their workload.

As a result, they improve work-life balance and become more effective as a leader while enjoying a healthier personal life, leading to increased overall satisfaction and well-being.

5. Career Advancement

Leadership coaching can significantly improve career advancement by equipping individuals with the skills, strategies, and self-awareness necessary to excel in leadership roles. Coaches help leaders identify and address areas for improvement, setting them on a path to continuous growth.

Through coaching, leaders learn to navigate organizational politics, build strong relationships, and develop practical communication skills and decision-making abilities.

For example, a mid-level manager aspiring to advance may engage in leadership coaching to develop executive-level competencies. The coach helps them refine strategic thinking, hone negotiation skills, and become more adept at leading and inspiring teams.

As a result, the manager earns a promotion to a higher-level leadership position and excels in the new role, paving the way for further career progression.

6. Networking and Relationship-Building

Leadership coaching can significantly enhance networking and relationship-building by helping leaders develop the interpersonal skills, self-awareness, and strategies necessary to foster meaningful connections.

Coaches work with leaders to identify networking goals, expand professional networks, and can provide guidance on building and nurturing relationships. They also offer insights into effective communication, active listening skills, and empathy, which are vital for creating strong, lasting connections.

For instance, an emerging leader in a global tech company may seek coaching to improve their networking abilities. The coach can help them refine their communication style, offer guidance on attending industry events, and teach them how to connect with colleagues and potential mentors.

As a result, the leader becomes more adept at building influential relationships, expanding their network, gaining access to valuable resources, and advancing their career within the organization.

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Benefits of Leadership Coaching for Organizations

Benefits of leadership coaching

1. Improved Leadership Effectiveness

Leadership coaching helps leaders develop the skills and qualities necessary to lead more effectively, resulting in better – and more efficient – decision-making and problem-solving.

2. Enhanced Employee Engagement

When leaders receive coaching, they can better engage and motivate their teams, increasing employee satisfaction and productivity.

3. Better Team Dynamics

Coaching can lead to improved collaboration and communication within teams, contributing to more cohesive and efficient working relationships.

4. Talent Development and Succession Planning

Leadership coaching identifies and develops potential future leaders within the organization, aiding in succession planning and leadership continuity.

5. Organizational Culture Enhancement

Coached leaders can model how to promote a positive and productive organizational culture, aligning it with the company's values and mission.

6. Conflict Resolution

Coaching equips leaders with skills to address and resolve conflicts, reducing workplace disputes and promoting a more harmonious work environment.

7. Improved Retention Rates

When employees feel supported by well-coached leaders, they are more likely to stay with the organization, reducing turnover and associated costs.

8. Increased Innovation

Coaching encourages leaders to be more open to new ideas and innovation, fostering a culture of creativity and continuous improvement.

9. Higher Employee Satisfaction

Coached leaders are more empathetic and supportive, increasing employee satisfaction and morale.

10. Enhanced Communication

Leadership coaching helps leaders communicate their vision, expectations, and feedback more effectively, leading to greater clarity and understanding within the organization.

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What Are the Different Types of Leadership Coaching?

Executive Coaching

Executive coaching is a branch of leadership coaching that focuses on helping executives and senior leaders achieve their professional goals and develop their leadership skills.

It is a one-on-one relationship between a coach and the client, where the coach provides support, guidance, and accountability.


Imagine you are a recently promoted CEO at a tech startup. You are excited about the new role but also feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities. You are unsure how to manage the company's rapid growth and are worried about making mistakes.

You hire an executive coach to help you transition into the new role and develop your leadership skills. Your coach works with you to identify your strengths and weaknesses and to set specific goals for your leadership development.

Throughout your coaching sessions, you learn how to delegate more effectively, communicate more clearly with your team, and make better decisions under pressure. You also develop a greater sense of self-awareness and confidence.

Team/Group Coaching

Team coaching is a branch of leadership coaching that focuses on helping teams achieve their goals and develop their collective potential. It is a collaborative process that involves the coach, the team members, and the team's stakeholders.


Imagine you are the leader of a sales team that has been underperforming for several quarters. You are concerned about the team's morale and unsure how to get them back on track.

You hire a team coach to help the team improve their performance and achieve their goals. The coach works with the team to identify their strengths and weaknesses and to develop an improvement plan.

Throughout the coaching sessions, the team learns how to communicate more effectively, collaborate more efficiently, and support each other better. They also develop a greater sense of shared ownership and accountability.

With the coach's help, the sales team can turn their performance around and exceed their goals. They also become a more cohesive and supportive team.

Transformational Leadership Coaching

Transformational leadership coaching focuses on helping leaders develop the skills and mindset to inspire, empower, and align their teams toward a shared vision and purpose.

Transformational leaders can create a culture of high performance and innovation and motivate their teams to achieve extraordinary results.


Imagine you are the CEO of a large corporation. You are concerned about the company's culture, which is increasingly siloed and competitive. You want to create a more collaborative and innovative culture where employees can take risks and think outside the box.

You hire a transformational leadership coach to help you achieve this goal. The coach works with you to develop a vision for the company's future and to identify the steps that need to be taken to create a more collaborative and innovative culture.

Throughout the business coaching sessions, you learn how to communicate your vision more effectively, empower your employees, and create a more supportive and inclusive work environment. You also develop a greater sense of self-awareness and humility.

Industry-Specific Coaching

Industry-specific leadership leadership is a branch of leadership coaching that focuses on helping leaders achieve their professional goals and develop their leadership skills within the context of their industry.

It is a one-on-one relationship between a coach and the client where the coach provides support, guidance, and accountability tailored to the client's industry-specific challenges and opportunities.

Industry-specific coaches deeply understand the unique challenges and opportunities that leaders face in their specific industries.


Imagine you are a recently promoted sales director at a pharmaceutical company. You have been in the pharmaceutical industry for several years but have no sales management experience.

You hire an industry-specific coach to help you transition into your new role and develop your sales leadership skills. Your coach has over 20 years of experience in sales and leadership positions in the pharmaceutical industry.

Throughout your coaching sessions, you learn how to build relationships with key stakeholders, develop and implement effective sales strategies, and motivate and coach your sales team. You also develop a deeper understanding of the pharmaceutical industry and its dynamics.

Virtual Coaching

Virtual coaching is a type of coaching that is delivered online, typically through video conferencing platforms such as Zoom or Google Meet. It is a convenient and flexible way to receive coaching, allowing clients to meet with their coach anywhere.

Virtual coaching is just as effective as in-person coaching, offering several advantages, including convenience, flexibility, affordability, & accessibility.


Imagine you are a busy executive who lives in a remote area. You are interested in working with a coach but do not have the time or resources to travel to in-person coaching sessions.

You decide to hire a virtual coach who specializes in executive coaching. Your coach can meet with you online at times that are convenient for you, and you can participate in coaching sessions from the comfort of your own home.

You work with your coach throughout your coaching sessions to develop a leadership development plan. You also work on specific goals, such as improving your communication and listening skills and delegating more effectively.

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How to Choose the Right Leadership Coaching Program for Your Company's Leaders

To choose the right leadership coaching program for your company's leaders, you need to consider several factors, including:

  • Your company's goals and objectives: What do you want your leaders to achieve through the coaching program? Do you want them to develop specific skills, such as communication or conflict resolution? Or do you want them to develop a broader leadership mindset?
  • The needs of your leaders: What are the specific needs of your leaders? Do they need help delegating, managing change, or inspiring their teams?
  • Coaching philosophy: What is the coaching philosophy of the program? Do they use a one-size-fits-all approach or tailor the coaching to the individual needs of each leader?
  • The experience of the coaches: What is the experience of the coaches in the program? Are they certified coaches with experience in coaching leaders?
  • The cost of the program: How much does the program cost? Is it affordable for your company?
Inspiring, isn’t it ? Want to learn more about connecting self-awareness to professional development? Get in touch today.

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Highrise Coaching Will Make You a Better Leader

Highrise coaching is delivered through individual, group, and online learning. It is a leadership coaching program that helps leaders — current & aspiring —develop the skills and growth mindset critical in navigating today's business environment.

Our professional development program helps leaders learn to negotiate, manage their team, listen & influence, give feedback, balance work & life, and more.

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Andrew Langat
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Andrew Langat is an experienced content specialist in Leadership, Productivity, Education, Fintech, and Research. He is an avid reader and loves swimming as a hobby. He believes that quality content should be actionable and helpful.