Be authentic, genuine, vulnerable and transparent — truly connect with others.

The number one leadership initiative in any organization today is improved coaching. Coaching empowers employees, empowerment drives engagement, and engagement drives performance. At its core, coaching is about transformation. Leading distributed teams requires transforming how we coach and changing our play calls and playbooks to get things done. As a part of our interview series called “Moving From Command & Control to Coaching & Collaboration; How Leaders and Managers Can Become Better Coaches,” we had the pleasure to interview Angelie Kapoor.

Angelie Kapoor is an award-winning professional career and leadership coach, author and speaker with over 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry. She has held numerous leadership and management roles, and is the founder of Oversight Global — an organization that aims to address the consciousness crisis in the world by educating and empowering leaders to reach their fullest potential and contribute to the world the way only they uniquely can. Her wit, creativity, and professionalism make her a powerful advocate for awareness and change.

Thank you for joining us to explore a critical inflection point in how we define leadership. Our readers would like to get to know you better. What was a defining moment that shaped who you are as a leader?

Absolutely! So excited to be here!

Of course! Yes, the defining moment that shaped who I am as a leader was not a pretty one by any means. It came during a time when I was still a pretty new leader, I had received a promotion which meant more responsibility and more people to lead AND we were going through a huge transition of merging with a new company and essentially starting from the ground up in terms of operations, systems, processes and procedures.

During this time, my external perception as a leader, manager and boss was one of appearing to be confident, competent and calm. People thought I knew what I was doing but internally I was a complete mess. I still haven’t figured out how to settle comfortably into my role as a leader. I was overwhelmed, I felt lost and alone and I felt like I had no idea what I was doing.

I’ll never forget the day my well-crafted facade of calm and composure totally shattered. Amidst a seemingly innocuous team meeting — BAM! My emotions took over, making it clear to all of those present that something was very off internally.

Staff members were visibly shaken by their boss’s unexpected outburst; some disgusted, others in tears — not exactly your typical monthly team gathering!

In retrospect this proved to be an invaluable wake up call for me: one which inspired significant change within myself that has led to the authentic, genuine, conscious leader that I am today.

John C. Maxwell is credited with saying, “A leader is someone who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” How do you embody that quote as a leader?

Such a great quote!

This quote speaks to me by describing how a leader is someone who walks their talk. Is someone who doesn’t just points the way but shows the way and is not just a leader but a participant, a team player. Someone who is empathetic and empowering and who creates more leaders.

As a leader, I firmly believe in living these words of John C. Maxwell and embodying his quote by “knowing, going and showing the way”.

For me, this means that I walk my talk, knowing exactly what is expected of me as I strive to demonstrate leadership by example and as a role model. As a team player, understanding how different roles interact with each other plays a major part in my own journey as a leader. During decision making processes, I believe empathy and emotion should be taken into consideration when mapping out solutions for our team. Furthermore, I am devoted to creating more leaders on our team as opposed to followers; this enables us to further leverage individual strengths and provide opportunities for growth. It is through empowerment that we can foster an innovative work environment where all players feel connected to the same goals and have ownership over their projects and progress.

How do you define the differences between a leader as a manager and a leader as a coach?

Leaders can fill two very different roles — that of a manager, or that of a coach. A manager focuses on operations and the behind-the-scenes work, like budgeting, planning and resource optimization. Meanwhile, a leader as a coach mentors, guides, supports and encourages their team, helping them see their blind spots and motivating them to success. The difference between each approach is great, but both are necessary for teams to reach their potential — managers handle the details so coaches can focus on empowering the people behind it all.

We started our conversation by noting that improved coaching is the number one leadership initiative in any organization today. What are some essential skills and competencies that leaders must have now to be better coaches?

I believe that self-awareness, consciousness, reflective listening, and intuitive communication are some of the essential skills and competencies that modern leaders must have to be better coaches. Without self-reflection and humility, coaches won’t spark meaningful conversations with their team — and leave them unable to provide insight or feedback. By being self-aware, conscious of their environment and others around them, reflective in their listening, and intuitive when communicating, coaches can become more effective leaders by building strong connections with their teams. A good coach is one who understands themselves first and subsequently fosters relationships where honest reflections can grow from competent foundations.

We’re all familiar with the adage, “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” How are you inspiring — rather than mandating — leaders to invest in upskilling and reskilling?

When it comes to helping leaders understand the importance of upskilling and reskilling, oftentimes a gentle push is all that’s required. That’s why I like to take an inspirational approach as opposed to a mandatory one — you can lead a horse to water but you really can’t make him drink!

Here at my company, Oversight Global, we focus on helping leaders explore the ways in which investing in personal development and skills development can help not only them professionally AND personally but also help their teams achieve amazing results, rather than enforcing any specific course of action.

The rewards of showing leaders how they can be successful in overcoming their struggles, challenges and obstacles and how their development and growth not only affects their professional life but their personal success as well that comes from winning over hearts instead of forcing hands are indisputable — by taking a more accommodating tack, we’re able to cultivate relationships built on understanding, respect, and trust and create authentic, genuine, conscious, phenomenal leaders.

Let’s get more specific. How do you coach someone to do their best work? How can leaders coach for peak performance in our current context? What are your “Top 5 Ways That Leaders and Managers Can Be Effective Coaches?”

Absolutely! Well, as we’ve been discussing, the ability to be an effective coach is a valuable skill for a leader and manager to have. Coaching employees on how to do their best work and reach peak performance can be incredibly rewarding — but it’s not always easy. I definitely learned that along the way on my leader journey. So, here are my Top 5 Ways That Leaders and Managers Can Be Effective Coaches:

  1. Firstly, make it a priority to build & maintain relationships, create a true partnership with your staff members: As a leader, it’s important to establish trusting relationships with your team and make sure that they know they can come to you for guidance. Regular check-ins and one-on-one conversations with each team member should be part of your normal routine so that everyone feels heard and supported. This will also create a true partnership and not just a mere professional connection between you and your staff members — which is essential for successful coaching.
  2. Secondly, be authentic, genuine, vulnerable and transparent — truly connect with others: The most effective leaders understand the importance of being open and honest about their experiences. Being authentic in your coaching sessions can help build stronger relationships with your team as well as provide valuable insights into how things could be improved or done differently in the future. Additionally, when you open yourself up to vulnerability by sharing stories from your own experience, it helps create an environment where people feel safe enough to share their own stories without fear of judgement or criticism.

This was actually a revelation that took me awhile to come to. I had always had this perception that leaders, managers and bosses needed to appear perfect and appear to have this perfect life at all times. Don’t let others see the chink in your armor so to say. It wasn’t until I had enough confidence and courage to be vulnerable and transparent with my team that I discovered how much they seemed to appreciate that and stronger relationships began to be built which in turn increased performance and productivity.

3. Thirdly, create a space where people feel comfortable, safe and positive: A key component of successful coaching is creating an atmosphere where team members feel comfortable talking openly about their goals and aspirations as well as any challenges professionally and personally, they may be experiencing. Creating a positive space means actively listening to what others have to say and encouraging them to talk openly about any issues or challenges they may be facing at work or in their personal lives. It also means providing helpful feedback when necessary while still making sure each person feels empowered and accepted no matter what the conversation may entail.

I discovered that creating this type of space, this type of container takes deeply embodying being empathetic and curious with no judgments or criticisms. It also takes giving the other person your full attention — for me it was learning to turn my cell phone and computer screen off and silencing all of my notifications in order to give someone my fullest, undivided attention.

4. Fourthly, ask thought provoking questions that will create awareness and inspire growth: Asking thoughtful questions during coaching sessions can help spark new ideas or perspectives for both parties involved in the conversation. These types of questions allow individuals to reflect on their current situation and explore potential solutions for any challenges they may be facing — which ultimately leads to greater self-awareness and growth opportunities for everyone involved in the session. This also allows for any blind spots to be uncovered and explored.

In all honesty, it took me a while to get the hang of asking the right questions in order to coach effectively. At first it was very awkward and I didn’t always know what to say or what direction to take the conversation. Just remember, that like anything it takes practice. Each coaching session, each conversation will get easier and easier and before you know it, you’ll be asking amazing questions and coaching like a pro!

5. And lastly, reflectively listen & communicate intuitively: Listen attentively during coaching sessions — this helps foster meaningful conversations between you and your team members as well as allows time for each person’s thoughts and opinions to be heard without interruption or judgement. Also pay attention to nonverbal cues like body language — these small details can tell you a lot more than words alone ever could! Lastly, don’t forget that communication is just as much about what isn’t said; try tuning into intuition when speaking with someone during a coaching session — sometimes it pays off!

We’re leading and coaching in increasingly diverse organizations. And one aspect of workforce diversity on the rise is generational diversity. What advice would you offer about how to effectively coach a multi-generational workforce? And how do you activate the collective potential of a multi-generational workforce?

When it comes to successfully leading a multi-generational workforce, there is no one- size-fits-all solution. During my time as a leader and manager as well as a professional coach, I’ve experienced times where I was scared and felt unworthy to lead, manage and coach members of mature generations because I was intimidated by their vast knowledge and experiences. I’ve also experienced times where I was unsure of how to lead, manage and coach those of the more innovative generations.

Overall, I’ve learned that regardless of the generational diversities, when you’re coaching a staff member — you have before you a unique individual and that’s the best approach I’ve learned over the years in coaching diverse workforces.

It is important to take into account each generation’s diverse skills and experiences. The key is to strike a balance between respecting traditional values and embracing innovative approaches. It is crucial to use methods such as open communication, employee motivation, and team building activities to help bring everyone together. As a coach, the best way you can activate the collective potential of this group would be to find ways to bring their individual strengths together in order to form an effective and productive whole. Mutual trust and respect must be cultivated in order for employees with different perspectives and backgrounds to work harmoniously together. By doing so, great things can be accomplished that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.

You’re referring to emotional intelligence, in a sense. What are two steps every leader can take to demonstrate a higher level of emotional intelligence?

Every leader can benefit from increasing their emotional intelligence. With a higher level of emotional intelligence, leaders will be better equipped to navigate their teams through challenging situations with nuance and sensitivity. There are two essential steps every leader should take to demonstrate a higher level of emotional intelligence. First, leaders need to demonstrate self-awareness, understanding their own emotions and how they shape their actions. This can be achieved by engaging in reflective practices such as journaling or speaking with trusted advisors regularly. Secondly, it is important for leaders to practice empathy when interacting with others, seeking to understand the perspectives of different team members and making sure everyone feels heard. One of my favorite lessons I’ve learned as a leader and a motto I continue to use today is ‘seek first to understand before being understood.’ I’ve found this to be such a powerful perspective in relationships and people skills.

Words matter. And we’re collectively creating a new leadership language right now. What are the most important words for leaders to use now?

Ah! Yes, so true! Such a great point! I think its definitely important for leaders to recognize and be aware and conscious of the fact that words have power.

One of the most profound lessons I learned from one of my mentors as I developed as a leader was being thoughtful of your intention when communicating whether that be verbally, via email, etc.

Words can be used to inspire and motivate, or they can be wielded to harm and disempower.

Now, more than ever, it is of utmost importance for leaders to think carefully about the words they choose when communicating with their teams. Gone are the days when a generic term like “empowerment” was used without thought; today’s leaders need to apply specific language that will truly foster a sense of engagement and activism. Keeping in mind various tones of communication — witty yet professional, creative yet engaging — can help create a positive atmosphere in which team members feel inspired and motivated by shared goals and visions.

I keep inspiring quotes on my desk. What’s your favorite “Life Lesson Quote,” and why does it mean so much to you?

Yes! Me too! I have several inspiring quotes on my desk including Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote, “No One Can Make You Feel Inferior Without Your Consent,” and Tony Robbins’ quote, “Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.”

But I think for this interview, I’d like to leave readers with this favorite quote, “My ability to overcome my fear will change someone’s life.” I’m not sure who said it but it played a pivotal part of my growth as a coach.

When I started coaching my staff as a leader and manager, it was very scary. I had no idea what I was doing. This fear was even more intense as I embarked on a journey to become a professional coach.

This quote helped me take baby steps every day to conquer my fears of feeling and believing I wasn’t worthy or didn’t know enough or fears of making mistakes.

This quote helped me realize that it wasn’t about me. I hope it can do the same for some of your readers and help them as well.

Our readers often like to continue the conversation. What’s the best way for readers to connect with you and to stay current on what you’re discovering?

Yes, absolutely!

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They can also reach me by email: [email protected]

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to experience a leadership master at work. We wish you continued success and good health!