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Cultivating Leadership Qualities as a Coach or Mentor

Author: Sarah Bull

A man sitting down talking to an executive coach

It's a simple, but easily overlooked fact: if you're coaching or mentoring someone to get somewhere new, you should also be aware of your own skills as a leader.

When you train or coach an adult or adolescent in leadership, you are preparing them to take responsibility for the future, so you can be assured that you will be leaving your company or industry in capable hands. Mentoring future leaders means preparing them to be responsible and ethical, and to act according to important leadership values such as fairness, empathy, patience, and honesty.

The Importance of Communication Skills For Future Leaders

In order to effectively mentor or coach another, you need to have excellent communication skills – and be able to pass those skills on. Here are five skills you need to be flexing when helping future leaders:

1. Prioritize Communication

Good leaders prioritize communicating with those they work with and know how to be effective communicators so that everyone is on the same page and feels included.

2. Listen

And since listening is a large part of communication, mentors and coaches need to take time for active listening, when working with mentees.

3. Respond 'Right'

Good leaders know that if communication is going to really be a two-way street, they need to know how to respond rather than react.

4. Be a Role Model

One aspect of mentorship is acting as a role model, so show how to take ownership of your actions – both the positive and the negative. Model flexibility rather than rigidity when life sends unplanned challenges your way.

5. Continue Your Own Growth

Demonstrate commitment to ongoing growth by signing up for seminars or workshops, or even going back to school for a degree that could help you advance in your field.

Young people who are embarking on a career journey can benefit enormously from having someone to guide them, give them feedback, listen, and even learn from them. The key to it all is being able to lead them the right way.


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