Adopting a coaching leadership style has been found to deliver significant benefits to employees and organisations including enhanced leadership development, increased job satisfaction, improved motivation and work performance, and improved interpersonal and team relationships. Leadership and leadership styles have been extensively researched in the literature over many decades. Approaches have included traditional theories of leadership such as: trait theories; task vs people theories; situational variables and maturity level theories; path-goal theory; autocratic-democratic leadership styles; collaborative-consultative leadership styles. Traditional theories of leadership have more recently been replaced by transformational approaches to leadership.

A model that explicitly links the coaching leadership style to individual self- and social-awareness and performance is emotional intelligence. This model of leadership is based on personal, social and behavioural awareness and skills in relation to self, and self within a group setting. According to this model there are six leadership styles each of which is associated with different organisational outcomes. All six leadership styles have a measurable effect on culture, which has a direct correlation with profitability as measured by financial results such as return on sales, revenue growth, efficiency and profitability. The coaching leadership style has been shown to be effective in developing managers and leaders’ self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and social skills. In addition the coaching leadership style has been significantly correlated with the development of a positive organisational culture.

The emotional intelligence model encourages people to notice and observe personal behaviours that contribute to how leaders operate in the workplace as well as how they interact socially. It provides an important starting point to conceptualise what it is that managers and leaders do and how they do it, which is shaped by their emotional intelligence, which in turn impacts on what a coaching culture means and how it is developed in an organisation. How emotionally intelligent are the leaders in your organisation?