What Is a Leadership Coach?

The importance of leadership within an organization cannot be understated. Strong leadership builds company culture, inspires trust, helps employees believe in the company's mission and vision, cultivates employee engagement, and improves morale. However, leadership isn’t intrinsic in many managers or business leaders—it’s rarely even tied to education or business savviness. That’s why your business may want to enlist the services of a leadership coach.

If you’re wondering, “what is a leadership coach?” you aren’t alone. It’s something that not nearly enough businesses use, but a professional consultant that many organizations should consider. Find out more about what a leadership coach is, the benefits they provide, and why your business needs one sooner rather than later.

What Is a Leadership Coach?

Leadership coaching table with benefits listed

You don’t just want to be a good leader; you want to be a great leader. And that’s what a leadership coach helps you achieve or realize. Leadership coaches provide an objective look at the performance of senior leaders or leadership positions, provide assessments of strengths and weaknesses, and boost the interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence required to lead in a successful workplace.

However, this is more than just an organizational approach to leadership. A leadership coach offers a holistic approach to leadership that assesses a person’s ability to lead and what a person can do to improve both personal and professional growth.

So when it all comes down to it: What is a leadership coach? It’s the person that gives you the ideas and direction you need to achieve your business vision while also helping you realize you’re the one who has the reins.

Instead of managing operations, budgets, and deadlines, you turn your focus to the people that make your company run like clockwork. To this effect, you’re not just a boss anymore—you’re a bonafide leader—one who’s aware of the need for constant improvement in their own performance.

With a successful leadership coaching program or leadership coach, you become of beacon of growth, impact, and inspiration for your employees.

Why Leadership Is Integral to Your Business

Leadership is all about promoting the vision of your company. Simply writing a mission or vision statement is a good start, but leadership takes the statement and turns it into a tangible reality for your business.

Moreover, leadership is a functional approach to management that provides:

  • Transparency
  • Clarification of purpose among all team members
  • Motivation and inspiration that leads to employee retention, engagement, and culture
  • Guidance to achieve the mission of the company
  • Professional development
  • Improvement of emotional intelligence

While the idea of leadership seems straightforward, how you apply leadership skills and leadership styles is the million-dollar idea—it’s not as obvious as it seems. Because leadership isn’t innate in even the most talented of individuals, a little encouragement and direction from a leadership coach are tantamount to success and reaching your company’s desired outcome now and into the future.

What Are the Types of Coaching?

The definition of leadership coaching can also get misconstrued due to the sheer number of other types of coaching programs available. Leadership coaching is often used synonymously with business coaching and executive coaching, but these aren’t the same things.

A quick breakdown of each can help you understand it a bit further:

  • Executive coaching: This type of coaching definitely teaches leadership, but it’s more focused on the executive level of the business. Executive coaches lend a neutral voice toward organizational decisions and act as objective consultants with an unbiased view. Essentially, it’s a mix of leadership coaching and business coaching.
  • Business coaching: Business coaching deals more with business strategy and operational management than how to lead or inspire individuals. It’s a central idea to help business owners grow successful organizations, provide perspective, and offer recommendations for the future of a business.
  • Life coaching: Life coaching is often used by individuals both inside and outside of the business world. Life coaches use an encouraging coaching style to help coachees reach goals and earn a sense of fulfillment in their lives.
  • Leadership coaching: This type of coaching is a subset of executive coaching, but is more specific in its focus. It deals more with how to lead individuals, improve communication skills, build a sense of self-awareness, and become better leaders.

What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Leadership Coach?

Chalkboard that tells the benefits of leadership coaching

The benefits of hiring a leadership coach are innumerable. They don’t just teach you how to become a leader; they change every aspect of your leadership style from coaching skills to self-confidence to maximizing the values and skills of your team. If you’re still on the fence about hiring a leadership coach, these benefits speak for themselves.

Improved Insight

How long you’ve been a manager or business owner can certainly give you insight into leadership roles. The only problem is that your views or style can stagnate.

A leadership coach can provide a fresh perspective based on their own coaching experiences, coach certifications, and principles of effective leadership coaching.

The business world is dynamic—change or fall behind. With a leadership coach, you have access to ideas that can propel your business to new heights.

Adoption of Active listening

Active listening is one of the most important aspects for leaders to improve their soft skill set. Instead of simply hearing employees, active listeners become fully immersed in the conversation.

When you apply active listening, you recognize body language and nonverbal communication, understand what’s being said, and become a vital part of the conversation. Active listening engages others rather than becoming a forum for your own advice or judgment.

Through active listening, you connect with your employees—and they respond in kind. It’s a core competency that no leader should ignore.


Self-confidence is essential to any great leader. Whatever you say and do needs to have conviction, as it directly impacts the thoughts, emotions, and performance of your team members.

If you lack self-confidence, you’re more of a name or title than a leader. With leadership coaching, you can create action plans or make decisions that inspire, engage, and motivate.

Tackle Your Weaknesses

No person ever became a great leader without first realizing and dealing with their weaknesses. But the idea is simple: humans don’t like to feel inept at what they do.

However, tackling weaknesses is an inevitability of a great manager. Only through improving your weaknesses can you adopt better leadership practices, a growth mindset, and other ideas that improve the performance of your team and company.

When you’re thinking “what is a leadership coach and what can they help me do?” they can’t necessarily fix your weaknesses. They merely make them visible to you.

Once you know what your weaknesses are, you can tackle them head-on and reduce your aversion to them. Even the simple aspect of self-awareness of weaknesses can push you to overcome them—building your essence as a leader in the process.

Maximize the Talents of Your Team

By tackling weaknesses, adopting active listening, and boosting your self-confidence, you’ve built yourself up to the most important aspect of all that a leadership coach can provide: maximizing the talents of your team.

You hired every person in your organization based on their skill set, experience, and talents. With the lessons you learn from a leadership coach, you can be a leader of men and women and inspire them to be their best.

When you become a full-fledged leader with the respect and even admiration of your employees, you’ve finally reached a level that can help you overcome any struggles. Through maximizing the talents of your team, you’re ready to push over the plateau.

What Leadership Coaches Don’t Do

Every business owner or manager should note that a leadership coach isn’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all solution. That is to say—a leadership coach can’t solve certain problems within an organization, and certainly not ones that lie outside of the behavioral realm.

Specific departmental issues, operational dysfunction, or a lack of profitability aren’t aspects readily fixed by a leadership coach. Furthermore, leadership coaches cannot solve situations that involve:

  • A lack of commitment to organizational change
  • Managers or owners who want leadership coaches to handle management duties
  • Organizations wanting to change leadership or oust managers or executives
  • A dramatically dysfunctional or toxic work environment

A leadership coach can certainly help organizations improve in other aspects, but at their core, these coaches aren’t miracle workers. You still need a basic level of functionality to truly embrace the teachings of a leadership coach and use them to your advantage.

Used in conjunction with leadership training programs and internal new manager training, a leadership coach can just provide the little boost you need to improve your own leadership role, become a better leader, and promote leadership development within other people on your team.

How You Can Embrace the Lessons of a Leadership Coach

Woman leading her employees

A leadership coach produces effective leaders within an organization, but they’re a consultant in many ways. As the old adage goes, they don’t simply give you a fish—they teach you how to fish in terms of leading a team, mentoring, and helping your team reach its full potential.

No business owner willingly spends money on arbitrary costs, but when you realize the upside of the cost-benefit of hiring a leadership coach, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

A leadership coach can’t change every part of your organization, but they can certainly improve the processes that will lead to teamwork and belief in the greater good of the company. That’s something that no other business expense can emulate.

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