Innovation according to all the surveys is one of the top priorities of leaders around the world.

Yet most leaders struggle with how to do it.

There are few role models and case studies are either dated or are written in retrospect when everything is neat and clear.

So increasingly leaders are turning to innovation coaches to help them navigate through this jungle.

This begs the question exactly how could an innovation coach help you?

A useful starting point might be what are the frustrations with innovation that leaders face.

In no particular order, these might include:

What is innovation and how does it fit within my priorities?

– How can I engage my team in the innovation journey?

– What are the barriers stopping me and my team from being more innovative?

– What if it doesn’t work?

– What if I am not very creative myself?

– How to move forward?

– How to measure our innovation efforts?

In my experience as an innovation coach I help leaders all the time address these types of questions.

My perspective is one of being a former leader myself with a large organisation (America Express) but more importantly as an innovator myself i full understand and share the leader’s frustrations.

As with any coaching experience the emphasis is on partnering and co-creating with the leader as we explore new and different ways of thinking about these questions.

Without giving specific answers to these common leadership challenges around innovation I would make a number of observations based on my experience working with a number of leaders:

– There is no single, one correct way of innovating, nor is there one right definition of innovation.

It all depends.

For leaders who love certainty this is a real challenge but it does open numerous opportunities to differentiate themselves, their brand and business.

– Creativity and innovation are skills.

And like any skill the leader has acquired over the years (think of golf for example) it takes the right tools, training and practice to improve.

– Even for leaders who don’t believe they are particularly creative or innovative when they reflect on their career or life their will no doubt be numerous examples of new and different thinking which they can call upon.

Innovation can be applied to every aspect of a leaders job and can enable an improvement in their performance and results.

In fact, it can give them a real edge in their careers.

Leaders of the future have to be innovative.

No ifs or buts.

And they certainly have to be able to demonstrate an ability to build a more creative, productive and innovative team.

– Innovation success, confidence and momentum often involves small wins.

– Creating new approaches, products, processes, solutions and ideas is incredibly fulfilling and joyful.

Creating a culture where this can happen is one of the best aspects of leadership.

– Innovation involves risk, trial and error, mistakes and setbacks — there are no guarantees.

However it also involves growth both professionally and personal.

The most effective and inspiring leaders are those that can enable their team to achieve amazing results.

To do this requires new thinking, new questions and new behaviours.

An innovation coach just might be able to help you along this path.

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