The American Leadership Paradox: The Intersection of Coaching and Leadership
As coaches, our primary objective is to aid in the development of our clients in achieving their strategic goals and improving their overall quality of life. In the organizational sense, coaching and leadership intersect, as associates seek value from their leaders and strive for a co-relationship focused on achieving success. The current zeitgeist of leadership is trending towards the acquisition of specific skills possessed by the coaching industry. As potential change agents, coaches must ask powerful questions about the psychological dynamics of our society at large.
The Cultural Paradox of American Leadership
It is essential to consider society’s demand for a powerful, altruistic leader capable of making quick decisions that benefit everyone while providing security. However, American culture glorifies individualism and places a negative stigma on followership. This cultural paradox leads to a leadership dilemma called The American Leadership Paradox, where everyone wants to be the leader, but leaders require followers to lead effectively.
The Nature vs. Nurture Debate in Leadership
In this paradox, society desires community and togetherness but also values capitalist freedom, individualism, and rebellion. This paradox is further exacerbated by the failure of current leadership, with over 70% of leaders falling short of meeting their goals.
The nature versus nurture debate, whether leadership is inborn or developed, is estimated to be split 50/50. However, even with excellent leadership ability, leaders will fail 50% of the time if the situation is not conducive to leading. In a leaderless society, our models in family, business, politics, education, and more require a leader with power that is admired and followed.
The Crisis of Trust and Unethical Leaders
The common consensus is that our current leaders are unethical, self-centered, and ruining the economy. Americans have little faith in the government and commercials, leading to a lack of trust in anything. This is not because Americans are inherently bad people but rather a result of a system coming to a breaking point.
The individualist system funnels leaders to the top who are the best players of the game that our society has produced. Unethical leaders are tolerated because they are perceived to be great leaders who boost individual self-esteem.
Transforming Leadership through Professional Coaching
Fixing or modifying the American Leadership Paradox is a challenging mission, but leadership is integral to a successful society. Professional leadership coaching can enhance self-awareness of cultural factors and aid in understanding the application of value-based leadership. Coaches can contribute to supporting the evolution and success of the leadership dimension by understanding the dynamics of leadership and utilizing expert coaching tools.