Deb Dutta

5 key leadership coaching styles

Grow your business
Nov 23rd 2022

Not every leadership coach is the same. Some are great at building relationships, others focus on helping you get to know yourself better. There's no one-size-fits-all approach that works for everyone, but there are certain styles that will be more effective depending on your needs and personality type.

The Research

Psychology professor Daniel Goleman's research found that emotional intelligence makes an effective leader. This means being able to empathize, establish rapport, influence and inspire others.

As a leader, emotional intelligence is one of the most important skills you can have. In his book Primal Leadership, Daniel Goleman says that effective leaders have what he calls “emotional quotient” (EQ). This type of intelligence combines four key abilities: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management.

Goleman based his research on studies done by psychologist John Mayer with more than 200 CEOs and over 600 senior executives at Fortune 500 companies. Mayer found that the highest performers were those who scored high in all four aspects of EQ outlined above; however, he also found that only about 30 percent of people had high EQs overall. So if you're looking to improve your leadership style or just want to understand yourself better as a person, learning how to develop these skills will help you become a more effective leader and person overall!

Of course, each person is unique and there is not one leadership style that suits all people.

It's important to remember that there is no one right way to lead. It's true that some people work best under a certain kind of leadership, but if your style doesn't fit with the person you're trying to guide, then it's time to try something new.

Leadership styles can be combined in different ways and also changed over time as you progress through your career. You may find yourself using one approach during your first job out of college, another at your 10th anniversary party, and another after a major life change like going from single parent living alone with your children by yourself for many years without any help from anyone else (I'm looking at my husband here) and somehow ending up happily married with two adorable kids who are now in their teens themselves!

Want to start your coaching business?

Grab a FREE account on Criya and learn how to
Grow your business exponentially!

Start coaching in 5 minutes

There are five main leadership styles you can use when coaching others

There are five main leadership styles you can use when coaching others:

  • Servant leadership, which focuses on being a servant to those you lead
  • Transformative leadership, where you aim to help people grow and develop their skills as well as their job responsibilities
  • Executive coaching, where an individual is coached by another person in order for them to improve their performance and results in the workplace. This style of coaching is often done one-on-one with someone who has been identified as having management potential or who needs additional training. The goal of executive coaching is to help executives become more effective leaders while at the same time improving their effectiveness in dealing with subordinates and peers.
  • Support-driven coaching focuses on creating an environment where employees feel supported so that they can be more efficient at doing their jobs without feeling stressed out or overwhelmed by problems or projects that seem too difficult for them (this style might also be called "team building" because it helps members work together better).
  • Psychological coaching involves using psychological techniques such as self-reflection or goal setting methods like SMART goals (Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Timely) to help individuals achieve personal growth goals

Servant leadership coaching involves a leader who puts the needs of the team above their own personal gain. The focus is on empowerment and enabling members to succeed.

Servant leadership coaching focuses on the needs of others and puts their own needs aside. Servant leaders seek to empower their followers by demonstrating trust, providing opportunities for growth, and removing obstacles that impede progress. In addition to creating environments where team members can thrive, servant leaders also encourage them to pursue their passions and share what they've learned with others.

Servant leaders are approachable and humble—they're willing to make themselves vulnerable by admitting weaknesses or mistakes. They support their teams' goals while encouraging personal growth through constructive feedback (including perhaps some tough love at times). Above all else, they invest in relationships with colleagues so that everyone feels valued regardless of rank or experience level.

If you want to help your people become more self-aware and motivated in their careers, then transformative leadership coaching may be for you.

Transformative leadership coaching is about helping employees become more self-aware, motivated and fulfilled with their careers. The coach will work with you to clarify your values, goals and priorities so that you can make better decisions about what to do next.

While many coaches focus on helping senior executives improve their leadership skills, some leaders need help from someone outside their immediate circle of influence who won't be biased toward them as a friend or colleague. Coaching may provide an opportunity for open communication that isn't possible when working under the same roof as your boss all day long.

Executive coaching is focused on helping leaders reach business goals through creating strategy and clarifying responsibility.

Executive coaching is focused on helping leaders reach business goals through creating strategy and clarifying responsibility. Executive coaches help you identify the challenges that are holding you back from achieving your goals, then work with you to develop a plan for success.

However, executive coaching isn't only for executives; middle managers can also benefit from a coach's expertise in helping them navigate their way up the ladder of success.

A support-driven coach leads by example and encourages others to learn by doing. They ensure that everyone has what they need to do their job effectively.

A support-driven leader leads by example and encourages others to learn by doing. They ensure that everyone has what they need to do their job effectively, whether that's the right tools, knowledge or instructions. If you know someone who has been promoted into a new leadership position but doesn't know how to lead other people yet, this style of coaching is ideal for them.

It can also be helpful for those who are motivated by positive feedback: as long as they are receiving encouragement from their manager or coach about how well they're doing with their new responsibilities, this approach will work well for them too!

Support-driven leaders can be more challenging for people who need more structure and direction because it requires more independence from the leader - so if someone needs direct guidance in order to feel confident in executing their tasks, then this type of coaching might not be ideal for them either.


Hopefully, this list has given you some ideas about which leadership coaching style might be right for you. If you're still not sure about the best approach for your situation, it's important to remember that the most important thing is that your coaching style matches the needs of your team members. The key is finding a balance between being an effective coach and being yourself as a person who cares about others.