“Coaching is the juice behind being a team leader.”
Welcome to part two of Lessons for Emerging Leaders, the conclusion to my discussion with Martin West. If you missed episode one, I strongly encourage you to allow time and click here before continuing.
Part one delves into the first phase of Martin West’s career, which was spent as a fighter pilot flying F18’s in the Air Force, as well as his role as a Fighter Pilot Instructor. Martin’s story continues with what led him to leave the Air Force and start his consulting company called X-Gap with his business partner Mark Bragg.
Related Post: Lessons For Emerging Leaders – Part 1
Over the last 20 years, the challenges and success stories of the X-Gap clients have led to the duo publishing their first book titled Hard Road: A Leaders Journey Begins. The aim is to help leaders to never become the limit to their team. “We want every leader to have the right tools, the right skills and be positioned so that they’re always ahead of the team. If they’re always ahead of the team, their team will keep improving” says Martin.
Part one of Lessons of Emerging Leaders, explains the importance of self-awareness. This is the first out of five key aspects, Martin and Mark consider that, when done well, will hold new leaders in good stead for the rest of their careers. In this current episode, Martin addresses the remaining four lessons starting with the importance of building strong relationships.
There are two key steps which are the basis for leaders building strong relationships with their team. This leads to a series of questions which Martin strongly encourages leaders to ask. Martin acknowledges that routines such as team meetings are ‘baked’ into the business model of an organisation. But stresses that the importance of committing time to one-on-one relationships is currently undervalued.
During their time as consultants, Martin and Mark have observed that leaders can have goals, interaction and team health correct. But, if these are not built on strong relationships with individuals, then it can be a house of cards that can quickly come down.
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Cultivating alignment with buy-in from the team is the focus of lesson three. This provides four questions to answer as a team to successfully produce and improve results. However, the key to this section is the importance of the buy-in of the team.
Lesson four introduces the building accountability discipline. So far, this discussion has addressed establishing a plan, building great relationships as well as developing self-awareness. Now we need to know what actually happens. Team meetings are the cornerstone of the discipline being discussed here, because it is the time when you actually get to see:
- What happened
- What didn’t happen
- What we need to do differently
- The behaviour which surfaces from the team
The fifth and final lesson featured is coaching, where Martin shares the Three Box Approach. The valuable lesson to learn from this section is that your job as a leader is about the other people in the team, not about you. This may require a mindset change for some. Ultimately the reward, the thing that will bring you the most satisfaction, is seeing individuals and the overall team performance improve.
Are you ready to build strong one-on-one relationships, get good at coaching, help people improve, be vulnerable, courageous and have the conversations that you need to have? Click here to gather valuable insights into how to begin your successful leadership journey…