Finding your leadership style

Welcome to our Coaching Summer Series

Welcome to the final instalment of the 3 part series on coaching.  If you would like to go back and complete the previous pathways - Coaching Skills and Coaching Strategies, please visit the Hive Learning Hub.  

This content is from the first card of 6 in the Coaching Styles pathway on the Hive Learning Hub. 

How do you know if you have what it takes to be a good coach?

Do any of these sound like you? Don’t worry if you do/don’t do these all the time.  Think about your typical behaviour over the last month and use that as your guide to answer the following questions:

  • Do you listen without interrupting?
  • Are you able to help people to find their own solutions, rather than giving the answers?
  • Do you take time to build up relationships with your direct reports?
  • Do you enjoy helping people achieve their goals and celebrating their successes?
  • Do you learn about the strengths and weaknesses of your team members? 

If you answered mostly “yes” to these then, great news, you have the makings of a good coach. But that’s no reason to be complacent, as any coach knows, there is still plenty to learn.

If you answered mostly “yes” then you may be a...

Coaching leader

A coaching leader is not a coach. This style of leadership uses coaching skills to help and support their team. These skills include:

  • Giving and receiving feedback.
  • Asking great questions.
  • Conducting motivating conversations.

What are the benefits of coaching leadership?

👍 It encourages team members to take on more responsibility and work independently.

👍 Team members are given the space and support to try new things.

👍 The leader is closer to their team than an outside coach. They have a stronger relationship with their team and already know about their projects.

What if I’m not a coaching leader yet?

If you answered mostly “no”, then don’t despair. There are plenty of chances to improve your skills and become a great coach.

A good coach can come from anywhere. What matters is you care about seeing people fulfil their potential.

Different leaders make different coaches

To get an idea of what sort of coach you might be, we need to know more about your style of leadership. Let’s take a look at some of the different styles of leadership and how you can graft these onto your coaching style...


This style of leadership prioritises “telling” over “asking”. If you’re an autocratic leader you have more input and control. When coaching you take little or no feedback. Instead, you tell them how they want something done.

If I am an autocratic leader and I coach like this, what are the pros and cons?

  • Pros: This can help if an employee needs a strong structure and guidance in their work.
  • Cons: It gives no room for independence and encourages employees to rely on their manager. It also encourages a command and control style of leader instead of being humble and curious.

This style of coaching was favoured by champion American Football coach Vince Lombardi. Lombardi used strict military-style discipline to lead his team to NFL Championships and Super Bowl glory.


Democratic leaders allow employees to work in a way that best suits them. When coaching, they give their teams control over their own development. These leaders delegate responsibilities to their team and invite feedback. 

If I am a democratic leader and I coach like this, what are the pros and cons?

  • Pros: Team members feel that their opinions count.
  • Cons: If there is an emergency or time is tight, this style of coaching will reach goals more slowly.


This leader takes a hands-off approach, giving a high level of autonomy to their team. People coached by a leader with this style set the pace of the work themselves. They make their own decisions and solve problems on their own. The coach provides whatever tools and resources needed.

If I am a laissez-faire leader and I coach like this, what are the pros and cons?

  • Pros: This style of coaching suits people who are already experts in their field.
  • Cons: The coach can appear uninvolved and remote causing a lack of trust. 


Head over to the Hive Learning Hub to take a short quiz to identify your leadership style.  

Leadership style quiz


Your style as a leader will influence how you act as a coach. But you are more than capable of learning a new style to fit your coachee and their needs. Adopt a growth mindset and with learning and practice, you can teach yourself a new style.

🗝️ Your key takeaway

Remember that these are just preferences and not meant to label you or put you into a box. You can adapt to  a different style depending on what suits you, your company or your team. Different coaching styles suit different people and situations.


Want to find out more? 

You can continue your learning with cards 2 - 6 on the Hive Learning Hub.  

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