According to Daniel Goleman, author and science journalist, there are six styles of leadership. A leader isn’t defined as being one style or another—a good leader employs whatever style is necessary to the situation.

Which leadership style do you think is the most underused?

  1. Visionary — mobilize people toward a vision
  2. Coaching — develop people for the future
  3. Affiliative — create emotional bonds and harmony
  4. Democratic — build consensus through participation
  5. Pacesetting — expect excellence and self-direction
  6. Commanding — demand immediate compliance

If you chose coaching, you’re right. Because coaching doesn’t have the same immediacy as the other leadership styles, both in terms of necessity and results, it tends to get neglected.

This can be detrimental to your organization. Daniel Goleman says leaders who have mastered four or more styles—especially authoritative, democratic, affiliative, and coaching—have the very best climate and business performance.

Many leaders report that they don’t have the skills to effectively coach their employees. But a leadership style is a tool, not a personality trait, and thus can be learned.

Developing a coaching mindset is key.

Michael Bungay Stanier, author of The Coaching Habit, says coaching should be a daily, informal act, and if you know which questions to ask, you can coach someone in 10 minutes or less. It’s about helping your team members quickly figure out their own paths, while sharing your advice and wisdom in the right dosage at the right time.

His seven essential questions begin with the Kickstart Question and end with the Learning Question.

Coaching is a leadership style that generates a positive climate, and is the most important one in terms of long-term strength. When you develop a coaching mindset, you focus on your employees’ potential and their continuous development, building a stronger, more independent team.


Check out our upcoming workshop Coaching Your Team: Maximize Potential.