What Happens When Leaders Pass the Buck on Development

by | Articles, Leadership

“We’d like you to start with our managers.”

As a coach, I work with people across departments and roles. Sometimes it’s the founder or C Suite executive. Other times, it’s the direct supervisor or the rising next gen leader. And universally, one thing is true.

Every one of us would be better— better for our people, for our team, and for our company – if we had a coach.

Maybe this is why more and more companies are offering coaching to their leaders: a move that not only invests in their people’s performance and wellbeing today but also sets the table for the company’s peak performance tomorrow and next year.

Want to know what behavior coaching helps to stop? Passing the blame downward. The easy way out of problems (and the easiest way to stall your company) is to assume the root cause is “other people.” Or maybe less confrontational— that other people need coaching more than you

When this happens, here’s what often comes next: 

Step 1: A leader decides someone on the team needs training or coaching and— well-intentioned— invests in it.

Step 2: That individual begins developing new skills and vocabulary. They learn what it means to be a leader who operates from values and purpose. They practice healthy boundaries and difficult conversations. 

Step 3: They’re better, but the company as a whole isn’t and their own leader isn’t. They get shot down when they show up with their new skills.


And when that individual’s leader doesn’t support that growth, two options emerge for the individual:

  1. Revert back to “the ways things were before” or,
  2. Find somewhere else that embraces their growth. 

Are there situations where coaching can be successful with a single person? Absolutely. But generally, it helps to approach leadership evolution as a team sport. Each player gets what they individually need and the team builds cohesiveness, trust, and capability together. Everyone on the path. Shared vocabulary. Running experiments to get better. Leaning on each other for mentoring. Starting with the leader. 

Interested in learning more about how 10X can support you as a leader and an organization? Send us an email: hello@10xleadershiplab.com or a message on LinkedIn!

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