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Coaching Leadership Styles for Developing Talent

Developing long-term, dedicated professional talent can be challenging. As new workstyles emerge in the modern workforce, managers and other leaders must adapt and grow. Leaders need to promote responsibility, personal development, and creativity within professional environments.

A coaching leadership style is a form of leadership that encourages collaborative structures in a positive, proactive way. Not all managers are coaching leaders, but every manager can develop this adaptive and proactive style.

In this blog, we talk about different coaching styles, applying emotional intelligence, and other factors that help leaders develop intuitive, adaptive leadership styles. For more information about team building and talent development solutions, sign up for a free account with Cloverleaf today.

Identifying the Coaching Style that Fits You Best

Every personality is unique, which means that every team is unique as well. This means that one coaching leadership style may work well for one team and not for another. Fortunately, there are many different coaching leadership styles to choose from, each with a specific function and benefits.

Determining the best coaching leadership style for you may take some practice. First, take inventory of your needs and the needs of your team. Reflect on who you are and who each of your team members is as a person. Next, review the established coaching leadership styles below to understand what each coaching style is all about. Speak with your team and discuss which leadership styles they may feel open to working with.

If you’re struggling to get a realistic picture of your needs or the needs of your team, it may help to develop emotional awareness or intelligence as a practice within your work environment.

How to Use Emotional Intelligence to Develop Talent

Developing talent within a professional space is a multifaceted project. Leaders and teams must create an inviting and productive workplace culture. Emotional intelligence is one of the best tools a coaching leader can use to foster personal and professional development in the workplace.

When we speak of intelligence in an emotional sense, we speak of awareness, openness, and other factors contributing to healthy emotional regulation during social interaction. These tools have essential applications in professional talent development as well, contributing to team morale, employee retention, and group development.


Self-awareness is crucial for every interaction we have, whether personal or professional. Self-awareness gives us insight into our actions and emotions and the why’s and how’s of who we are. When we harness this knowledge for professional development, we can have more productive interactions, receive constructive criticism, and make changes when we need to change. Self-aware people know their strengths, weaknesses, and capabilities. These people know what they need and can interact more comfortably with others as a result.


The next logical step after self-awareness is self-regulation. Self-awareness gives people insight into their own actions and feelings. Self-regulation gives people control over those actions and feelings. As a leader in the workplace, practicing self-regulation comes in the form of avoiding anger, listening instead of reacting, and changing emotional responses into productive ones.


Emotional awareness and intelligence also involve and promote motivation. Learning about what drives you or your professional team helps promote a workplace culture that is engaging, active, and productive. Coaching leaders are motivated to motivate through creating team freedom and encouraging a growth mindset in all aspects of the professional environment.


An important component and byproduct of emotional awareness and intelligence is empathy. Empathy is going beyond understanding and putting yourself in another person’s shoes. Empathy is an essential part of the workplace, from coaching conversations to corrective leadership. Successful leaders develop a management style that is compassionate and promotes equality and empowerment in the workplace.

Social Skills

Another natural part of emotional awareness is social skills. Coaching leaders who practice the tenets of emotional awareness can better relate to team members. Their coaching skills focus on growth rather than control, promoting an environment built on constructive feedback and proactive action.

Different Coaching Styles

If you’re looking to develop proactive leadership skills, you may be wondering which coaching leadership style makes the most sense for you, your team, and your collective professional goals. Coaching leadership is adaptive because it needs to be. Every team is different, meaning some teams respond well to one leadership style while others require a different coaching approach.


Autocratic leadership is less coaching and more directing. This type of directive leadership often creates a very rigid work structure and contributes to a company culture of little to no team input. The leader in an autocratic workplace always has the final word.

This type of managerial mindset is risky, as it often compromises a person’s emotional awareness. Autocratic managers or leaders may fail to practice empathy, compromise, or self-regulation. However, this type of leadership style may work well with less experienced team members who are still learning the job and the team dynamics. 


Unlike the autocratic coaching leadership style, democratic coaching leadership is all about listening to and incorporating feedback from every team member. Some of the most transformational leaders in the professional and athletic worlds practice a democratic coaching process designed to motivate team members, boost team morale, and improve team productivity on the whole.


Holistic coaching leadership goes beyond on-task team development. This leadership style focuses on teaching broader lessons about wellness, such as emotional awareness, self-regulation, and open communication. This coaching leadership style encourages personal strengths both in and out of the workplace, helping team members feel involved, take responsibility, and self-motivate.


The vision coaching leadership style is all about boosting positive aspects of team development by visualizing short and long-term goals. This leadership style encourages all team members, including the coaching leader, to think critically about the steps necessary to achieve a personal or professional goal.

Authoritarian Coaching

Authoritarian coaching is the least popular of the coaching methods. Authoritarian coaching can blend with other coaching styles to appear democratic or holistic, but this system is rarely either – it does not allow for the individuality or uniqueness of team participants. This leadership style means the leader does all of the decision-making and is responsible for the success or failure of any action.

Common Talking Points for Employee Coaching

If you’re ready to try a leadership coaching style, you may be wondering where to begin. Developing the right leadership style for your team and workplace is a learning process but is a natural part of successful career development. Below are some talking points to help focus your team coaching sessions.

Career Goals

Goals are an essential part of finding motivation in a professional environment. When encouraging career goals for your team, think of yourself as a personal trainer. Your role as a coaching leader is to help them define and visualize their goals while encouraging them each step of the way.

Goal-focused leadership has proven results. Its positive perspective on both short and long-term goals generates motivation and creativity. Your team will feel more positively and proactively about their goals if they believe those goals are achievable, worthwhile, and enjoyable.

Communication Preference

A common component of most leadership training is learning the different communication styles. These styles are important because they allow leaders to take a more targeted coaching approach with each team member. Speak to your team about their communication preferences and help the team establish communication protocols that work for everyone.

Work Habits

Work habits indicate the health of any workplace. Openly discuss optimal and current work habits with your team. Incorporate stress management advice, relaxation techniques, and incentives to promote a good work ethic and trustworthy workplace habits.

The Importance of Long and Short Term Goals

Goals are a core component of any strong leadership theory. Long and short-term goals help every member of the team find direction and purpose in the workplace. Moreover, a goal-centric style of leadership helps improve team decision-making, improve productivity, and maintain motivation.

People Also Ask

What Are the Characteristics of a Coaching Leadership Style?

Leadership coaching promotes productivity and professional growth through collaboration, communication, empathy, and direction. Coaching leadership differs from transactional leadership in that it guides for potential rather than immediate results.

What Is a Holistic Management Approach?

The holistic management style is a coaching style of leadership that promotes wellness, motivation, and emotional health to optimize professional team performance.

What Are the Three Styles of Coaching?

The three primary styles of coaching are autocratic or authoritarian, democratic, and holistic. Each coaching style has unique benefits and applications for developing talent in a professional environment.

Successful coaching leadership style is as dependent on the team as it is on the leader. Developing and retaining talent in the workforce depends significantly on the desire for collaborative action from all involved parties.

If you’re interested in transforming your company culture and promoting positive growth from the inside out, reach out to Cloverleaf. Cloverleaf offers team and talent development resources for teams, coaches, enterprises, individuals, and nonprofits. As a manager, use Cloverleaf to help coach your team to do their best work. Get started with a free 14 day trial for your entire team.