Understand Personalities: As a leader you must take the time to understand personalities. You cannot coach everyone the same way. It is liking raising children, you cannot discipline and raise children the same. Different people come with different personalities, different hurt, different issues. It is very important to get to know the person who you are coaching.
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 Shaniece M. Wise.
Shaniece M. Wise is the CEO and Founder of Wise, Armstrong and Associates, LLC, a business coaching and consulting firm that specializes in helping business owners extend well beyond six figures. Wise uses her expertise to help clients gain visibility, increase revenue profitability, and improve systems and strategies. She is backed by spiritual and biblical principles which puts her in a niche of her own and has solidified herself as the blueprint to curating successful business owners, with many of her clients crossing the million-dollar mark in less than five years.
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?
This is a great question. I have been leading and coaching business owners for well over seventeen years, but I did not officially turn my business into an actual business with the state until years later. When I started my business coaching and consulting firm, I was really focused on investing in my personal and business growth. I believe as business owners you always need a business coach. You always need someone with the proper skill set to help you grow and scale your company. Well, I signed up with a young lady who suggested that she was a business coach and could help me grow. I did not do the proper research or take the time to get to know her. She was a referral and I thought I could trust the source of the referral. Well, the problem was, the person who referred this young lady was not in the same place that I was in. See, I already knew a lot about running businesses. I had my first business when I was twelve, and my second when I was eighteen. I will never forget attending this business coaches 2-day retreat. I remember getting up in the middle of the session, going to the bathroom, and crying my eyes out for an hour. Why was I crying? Because everything she was teaching, I already knew. She was making false claims, teaching bad business techniques and she was not operating with integrity, and I was sure she was a fraud. I kept asking myself, “How did I get here?” Honestly, she could have been in my coaching program, and she was earning well over six figures. At that very moment, I knew my goal and purpose was to lead business owners the “right way”. To lead with integrity and not false advertisement and promises. To help them build and grow solid businesses that could change not only their lives, but other people’s lives as well. I also learned that I knew just as much, or even more than a lot of people in my industry that were running million-dollar businesses. Just because I had just turned my business into an official business with the state did not take away from everything that I knew. I was an expert, and it was time for me to begin operating like one. I truly believe God placed in her program to show me what I did not want to be and what my true purpose was. I knew that I was a leader of leaders and that moment changed everything for me.
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?
John C. Maxwell is one of my favorite authors and this is one of his greatest quotes. I believe I embody this quote as a leader because I know what it takes to build strong solid successful businesses because I have built many. My previous company before starting my business coaching program generated well over a million in retail sales if you combine all my years working in that business. My current Business Coaching and Consulting Firm is doing very, very well. I am blessed to be able to do what I do. There is not one day that goes by that I don’t give God all the glory for blessing me with the skill set that I have. In my Business Coaching Program, I have clients that are building six and seven figure companies and they are thriving. One of my clients has been with me for four years to date and she has grown by a million every year. Another client joined my program and generated over $100,000 in five months. I could give you story after story. Growing my company has not come without bumps and bruises. I have fallen many times but what makes me different is that I get back up and keep going. My company is still growing, and my clients see me working. They see what the results look like from an inner-city kid who has worked since she was sixteen years old, graduated at the top 2% of her business class at the Ohio State University and who has trusted God all along her journey. Everything that I have learned along the way is what I teach my clients and I truly believe that is what they are successful.
How do you define the differences between a leader as a manager and a leader as a coach?
Both are focused on improving and helping grow their team or client base. I just believe they take two different approaches. In my opinion, when you are leading as a manager you are focused on organizing, controlling and or dictating the activities and outcome of your team. When you lead as a coach, you are focused on driving team performance by building trust and effective relationships to help them reach their goals.
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?
We are in different times as a nation. People are looking for what’s real. Real life experiences from leaders. To be an effective coach you must learn the skill of working with people. What does this mean? It means understanding personality styles, how to communicate effectively and understanding what people are going through. It means understanding what diversity looks like and how people who do not look like you or come from the same place as you, operates. It is about being transparent as the leader, as the coach. It is about being vulnerable, being able to share your experiences, show empathy, and provide the results. You must be ok with being real and not apologize for your realness and authenticity. When potential clients come to me to learn more about my business coaching program, I share with them who I am, my company’s mission, vision, and core values. I also share my style of business coaching. I am honest with who I am and how I operate. People are looking for leaders who are unapologetically honest.
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?
The best thing that you can do as a leader that desires to be better is invest in ones-self. You are the number one player on your team and if you do not invest in you, then who else will. Yes, I do believe in being kind and operating from a place of love but also being honest by educating on why investing in upskilling and reskilling is important. All leaders should have coaches and all business owners should have a coach. How can you grow if you don’t have someone else pulling you up? It’s important to identify what type of coaching you need in the moment and begin to interview coaches and invest.
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?”
Top 5 Ways That Leaders and Managers Can Be Effective Coaches
- Understand Personalities: As a leader you must take the time to understand personalities. You cannot coach everyone the same way. It is liking raising children, you cannot discipline and raise children the same. Different people come with different personalities, different hurt, different issues. It is very important to get to know the person who you are coaching.
For example, I have three clients who are clinicians that are running private practices. You would think I could coach them the same way, but they are all at different stages of business. Two of them still work inside of their practice while the other one has someone else running it. One is an extravert while the other two are introverts. There is no way I can coach them the same way because they have different personalities which causes them to respond differently.
2. Understand Backgrounds: Effective coaching comes with understanding the person’s background to be able to relate to them. As an African American woman, I have clients who are of different backgrounds and races. Yes, we are all women of color, but our backgrounds are different. So, it is important for me as their leader to understand their stories, what they come from, past hurt and past trauma. How else can I find common ground or a way to relate? This allows me to build stronger relationships with my clients and it shows them that I genuinely care.
3. Understand Perspective: As a leader it is important to understand that your perspective is not everyone else’s perspective. Your views are not your clients’ views. The way you see the world is not necessarily the same as how your team or clients see the world. Be congestive of this is important and not pushing your views on your clients. It is important that you as the leader take the time to understand how your team or clients think and why they do what they do will allow you to be a better coach. Becoming an effective coach is learning how to listen. Learning how to be still, be quiet and listen to what the other person is saying. This gives insight to understanding other perspectives.
4. Understand Goals: As a leader it is important to understand goals of your team and/or clients. What do they want to accomplish, what do they desire to achieve. This helps you as their coach keep them on the right path. It helps keeps them consistent and focused. I have a client who has been with me for almost a year and now she is decided to shift what she does because it is not in alignment with how she wants to serve her community. Her goal is to make a huge impact and she did not feel like previous business was allowing her to do this. As her coach, I support her, and we are now working on her doing what’s in heart for her community. It was important for me to support her in what she desires to do.
5. Learn what motivates: Effective coaching is learning what motives, inspires and drives the individual. A part of learning who the person is and what makes them do what they do. Many of my clients who have families are driven by creating legacies for their children. That is why they do what they do, that is why they work the way they work. I can relate because my family drives me as well. I am also motivated by seeing my clients win and accomplish tasks that are set before them. I have a client who runs a Diversity and Inclusion consulting business where she goes into colleges and organizations and teaches the staff. When she landed her $60,000 contract you would have thought I received it as well. I was extremely excited for her. I knew everything we worked on was coming to fruition.
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?
I would first take the time to get the know the people who you are going to coach. Learn about their ethnicity, back group, everything that makes them who they are. Set up focus groups, do research, educate yourself as much as possible. Create a safe environment for the participants to be themselves. Give them space to be open and honest. Never shame them or get upset because how they feel does not align with your core beliefs. As a leader you may not have their story or understand their pain, but you can provide a safe place for them. I would also incorporate team building activities if it is a team environment. They team must take time to get to know each other as well. The problem is when you come from a different background you can sometimes feel alone and isolated. It is up to the leader to help create a different experience for the team/individuals.
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?
Emotional intelligence helps you understand yourself, how you operate and how you connect with others. As a leader it is important that your number one, take the time to understand who you are because it allows you to affectively connect with others and build strong relationships. I believe personal work is very important. As a leader you should challenge yourself to grow because if you are not growing, how can you help others grow. I have started to give myself a yearly budget around personal development. Number two, learn other personality traits of others so you can effectively connect and build strong relationships.
Words matter. And we’re collectively creating a new leadership language right now. What are the most important words for leaders to use now?
My question to all leaders is “Who Do You Be”. I write about this and the importance of Power Words in my book “Activating Your Gifts — 2nd Edition — 15 Steps to ….
Words matter and what you speak over yourself matters. It is important for leaders to lead by example. Do you know how to self-motivate? What words give you power? What words give you strength.
I keep inspiring quotes on my desk. What’s your favorite “Life Lesson Quote,” and why does it mean so much to you?
My favorite quote is by Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right”. This quote means so much because it is all about what you believe about yourself. It reminds me of the first part of verse in Proverbs 23:7 “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he”. If you believe that you can be a successful business owner, then you are right. You can and you will. If you believe you can’t, you are right as well. It is all about what you believe. I am very protective of my words and what I speak over myself, my business my children and my family. Words bring life and they can also destroy. Your mind can make or break you. The question is, what are you feeding your mind daily?
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?
These questions have been phenomenal, thank you for interviewing me. I pray many blessings over your business and publication. You can reach me on all social media sites @shaniecemwise and my website is www.shaniecemwise.com. If you interested in learning more about how to build beyond six and seven figures, you can schedule a Discovery Session by clicking her https://courses.shaniecemwise.com/discovery-call-application.
Thank you for sharing your insights. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and good health.