Leadership & Coaching: Are They Inseparable?


At Wright Graduate University for the Realization of Human Potential, people often ask why our programs combine leadership and coaching. Can there be one without the other? Of course there can. However, we argue that to be a successful leader you must be a great coach.

If your only experience with coaching is viewing the endless streams of coaches sharing content on social media, you may be skeptical about the connection between coaching and leadership.

In today’s climate of quiet quitting and great resignation, coaching is more important than ever to successfully leading and re-engaging teams.


Why is Coaching Essential to Leadership

Did you know that 77% of employees have reported burnout at their current job?

What if instead, work felt rewarding? What if team members knew how their individual contributions moved the company forward every single day? What if every employee knew the greater purpose of their work and firmly believed in the mission and vision of their company?

This vision can become a reality for organizations that implement coaching. The top benefit of business coaching is increased employee engagement. Employees want to work for leaders who they interact with on a high level. Teams desire leaders who help them gain direction on their work, provide constructive feedback, and ask for feedback themselves to help everyone stay engaged and motivated.

Were you also aware that only 20% of employees feel passionate about their job? In other words, 80% of the workforce has an unmet desire to make a difference through their work.

Transformational Leaders coach teams to understand how every task they do contributes to the organization’s success. They coach team members to harness their individual talents and passions to move the company forward. Beyond that, they encourage others to lead by sharing feedback and ideas, and they follow up on the implementation of those ideas or corrections based on that feedback.

Through this next level of partnership, employees gain a sense of responsibility and how they positively contribute to the company daily, creating inspiration and pride in their work.

Another critical aspect of coaching as leadership is the ability to motivate employees toward individual and shared goals.

In challenging times, setting goals becomes both more difficult and more important. One study showed that less than half of employees adjust their goals after significant changes to their role at work.

Transformational leaders who can coach their teams to align on greater goals will increase the satisfaction, performance, and impact of their teams. Employees who know and align with the impact they are making will want to work harder to contribute to the success of their organization.

At Wright Graduate University, students learn the skills of coaching one-on-one, then apply those skills to coaching the groups they lead or participate in. With extensive training on group dynamics, these leaders learn to align and motivate their teams at a much deeper level than the historic business models that rely on top-down or haphazard goal-setting.


Emerging Leaders Have Higher Expectations

The term “manager” is becoming somewhat of a curse word in effective organizations. Instead, higher-ups are referred to as leaders and coaches. Gone are the days of micromanagement and transactional leadership, and in is the concept of transformational leadership.

  • Transactional Leadership: A management technique based on supervision, efficiency, and performance. Employees rely on rewards and punishments to know whether they are meeting their managers expectations. Transactional Leadership has a short-term, task-focused approach.
  • Transformational Leadership: Leadership technique driven by inspiring followers to make positive change. Employees are challenged to reach higher potential and develop themselves personally and professionally. Transformational leadership has a long-term, vision-based approach where leaders and followers align to a shared purpose and mission behind what they are doing.

Employees and emerging leaders in the Millennial, Gen Z, and Gen X generations expect major shifts to current leadership. These generations are technologically savvy multitaskers who highly prioritize their work-life balance. They also greatly support having social responsibility and taking ownership of their success. Command-and-control leadership demoralizes these employees and emerging leaders. Empowering them requires coaching them, individually and collectively, to their highest potential.

Research shows that 72% of millennials value the chance to learn new skills and that “professional growth and career development” is the #1 driver for millennial engagement. Leaders who make these employees’ learning, growth, and contribution a priority will be likelier to retain top-performing talent, even through challenging times.


How Successful Leaders Learn to Coach

It is no secret that coaching certifications have become a dime a dozen. Leaders can become certified in coaching with investing as little as one weekend of their time.

However, should leaders be focused on minimum time and cost investment, or should they look at maximum value added to their long-term career and life through coaching? At Wright, we would argue for the latter.

Taking action generates value. Without structured application, learners forget 70% of material within 24 hours and will forget 90% of what they learned within one week. That’s why Wright’s leadership education includes a variety of structures to ensure that students take action, applying the curriculum from day one.

Leadership is a habit, not a position. From decades of trial, error, and research Wright has formulated lessons that encourage leaders to take small daily actions to implement and retain what they have learned. “Do as I say, not as I do,” is not in the transformational leader’s vocabulary.

The best coaches are coachable. Coaching isn’t consulting or giving advice. Coaching means joining someone in the unknown and facilitating them toward an emerging vision for themselves.

Leaders who have turned themselves inside out to discover themselves through coaching have greater credibility and effectiveness in coaching others. Transformational leaders invest in in ongoing support and feedback to improve their coaching. At Wright, students receive weekly feedback from their faculty and fellow students on their coaching and leadership.

“Leadership coaching begins with self-awareness, which means understanding the impact your thinking and behavior has on others – as well as on your own personal effectiveness.”

– Angela Koning


Interested in learning more about the coaching programs at Wright Graduate University? Visit us below.

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Accreditation: Wright Graduate University is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, an accrediting agency recognized by the US Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education (CHEA). Wright Graduate University business programs have received specialized accreditation through the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). See complete accreditation and recognition details here.