We often consider coaching, teaching, and leading as separate activities. At their most basic level, all three are about taking someone to a new place. When an individual takes a journey to some place new, change is involved. To change, people need to learn. Helping others learn is about helping people engage their brains in what they are doing. Therefore, using an approach that integrates the best practices for helping people learn should improve one’s ability to lead, coach, and teach (i.e., to influence their development). I refer to this as educating, coaching, and leading with the brain in mind. The beauty of using a brain-based approach to leading, coaching, and teaching is that we embrace the viewpoint that all three of these activities, at their most fundamental level, are about helping people learn. All three activities—educating, coaching, and leading—involve people learning a new subject, how to play a team sport, or how to fit into a company culture and do a job.
If we invoke the K.I.S.S—Keep It Simple Stupid—principle, a simple mindset change at two levels—individual and organizational—can make a huge difference in our effectiveness as leaders, coaches, and educators. The first and most fundamental mindset change begins with the recognition that leading is not about you. It is about taking each person to someplace new by enhancing the learning environment through a brain-based approach. This mindset shift recognizes that every person on “your team” brings something unique to the group. It is up to you as the “leader” to help them maximize their contributions on their way to someplace new.
The more I practice leadership, think about leadership, read about leadership, and hear people talk about leaders they admire, the clearer it becomes. Changing your mindset to focus on taking individuals and your organization from the “now” to the “new” by creating a better learning environment will improve your effectiveness as a leader.