In my experience most leaders are very good at planning, driving a team towards a goal and working extremely hard.
Yet most leaders have a gap in their skill set.
For the most part they cannot innovate.
They are not good at creativity.
It is their biggest weakness.
Don’t believe me. Who are the great leaders of recent years?
Steve Jobs comes to mind. And why is he admired so much — it is because he had a rare ability to create and inspire others with his vision of what could be.
Being not very good at innovation is understandable.
Leaders are rarely taught or encouraged to think creatively in their school or university education.
Certainly not in most business schools.
Perhaps it is because there are so few role models for them to learn from.
Most leaders are time poor so they err on the side of efficiency rather than experimentation.
They like certainty and innovation smacks of risk and possible failure.
I have also noticed that senior leaders sometimes feel threatened by other, often younger more creative managers who have embraced technology.
As a result leaders tend not to practice their innovation skills.
So with any neglected skill it weakens and you lose confidence.
And they tend to rationalise their behaviour by highlight how busy they are.
But organisations need innovation more than ever.
If the leaders are not innovating then who else will lead the charge?
This is where an innovation coach could help.
I believe the main role of an innovation coach or guide is to restore the confidence of leaders to start innovating again.
Much like a tennis coach who is working with a star player who has lost confidence in their serve and needs to rebuild it.
A good way to start innovating is to do that.
It does not matter where or when or with whom.
It is simply getting leaders to experience the feeling of trying to create something new.
It could be a new process or goal or way of working or a different way of conducting a team meeting.
The innovation coach would help the leader to start small.
To innovate and see what happens — to then practice again and try and measure the results.
As the leader starts innovating the coach would encourage the leader to encourage others to innovate.
Before you know it the leader is starting to build a team and culture of creativity and innovation from the inside out.
The leader is role-modelling the behaviour they desire.
It might just be the best form of coaching that any leader can receive!