Spiritual Leaders Coach Their Followers Carefully 2

I’d like to continue some reflections on this theme of coaching followers, a topic I dealt with before the summer vacations. Coaching followers is an important quality of spiritual leaders. Coaching others requires that leaders be reflective, have political savvy, and maintain spiritual depth.  Reflection is needed to receive creativity, political savvy is needed to deal with and direct the resulting changes, and spiritual depth is needed to preserve balance and perspective amidst the change.  Coaching others presumes intensity of conviction in the leader who is striving to manage, then empower, and finally liberate the performance of others.  Intensity of conviction is very subjective, self-confident, and can be influential, and it must be managed by a genuine respect for others and their views, an attitude of benevolence toward others and their as-yet-unknown responses, and an openness to be changed by others’ input.

Coaching others means helping followers see the excitement that comes with change and crisis and training them to invest in innovative skills that gives the ability to provide alternative solutions that others do not. Coaching others means challenging others to exceed their potential and in doing so exceed one’s own. All this is part of serving others in new circumstances, even relishing change because it gives opportunities to serve perennially in different situations. Approaching change in this way requires humility, passion, boldness, and courage. Coaching for times of change means helping followers retain high levels of self esteem, intensity of conviction, and self-confidence linked to humility. It also insists that simple aspects of life should not be neglected—appearance, verbal skills, body language, patience,  politeness and civility.

Managers quickly become obsolete, whereas leaders know their tasks are ongoing. They continue to form, support, and coach the new leaders to whom they delegate responsibility.  The goals of leadership outlive the leader in his or her followers.  However the leader does not withdraw after delegation but continues to be supportive by fostering personal growth and deeper understanding, offering feedback, and building new skills in followers. Leadership means giving of your best and getting others to give their best too.

Dedicated leaders live in a state of continued dissatisfaction with things as they are and are always striving for something more from themselves and their followers. To be satisfied would mean losing the vision.  Thus, leaders continue to model the vision, to proclaim the ideals of the organization by building-up its image, to transmit a shared vision with persuasiveness and inspiration, to demand high expectations of followers, to support followers with high levels of confidence, and to motivate others to the best of which they are capable. A leader helps followers grow in their own leadership style, stressing the ongoing quality of their work, their organizational and societal contributions, and their quality life. A leader will always need to show flexibility, seeking each follower’s way of leading. The only part of vision in which the leader shows no flexibility is the continuing need for commitment to values.

 

 

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About Leonard Doohan

Dr. Leonard Doohan is Professor Emeritus at Gonzaga University where he was a professor of religious studies for 27 years and Dean of the Graduate School for 13 years. He has written 17 books and 160 articles and has given over 350 workshops throughout the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the Far East. Leonard's recent books include Spiritual Leadership: the Quest for Integrity, in 2007, Enjoying Retirement: Living Life to the Fullest, in 2010, and Courageous Hope: The Call of Leadership, in 2011. Leonard's wife is Helen who was also a Professor Emerita at Gonzaga, specializing in the writings of Paul.

Posted on November 10, 2014, in Leadership, Leadership and vision, Servant leadership, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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