Coaching Leadership/Management

The Archers – Coaching on Home Farm

Together with Stephen Fry, Sir Ian McKellen and Victoria Wood, I and nearly 5 million other listeners are fans of the Archers, the longest running radio show in the world, with more than 16,700 episodes since it started in 1950. Recently I was listening to an episode where local farmer Brian’s arrogant, directive leadership approach resulted in a predictable response from his step-son, Adam, and it made me think about “what if Brian had taken a more coaching approach to the challenge”?

The BBC script:
The gentleman farmer, Brian, has ‘done it again’ in terms of alienating his stepson Adam, who helps run Brian’s farm, with his tactic of negotiation by ultimatum.  “I’ve spoken with Debbie (not me!) and this is how it has got to be; there’s no alternative!”
Even if there really were no alternative – that sentence was guaranteed to charge immediate hostility, anger and hurt within Adam, prompting questions in Adam’s mind: “Why does Brian always speak to Debbie first and present me with a ‘fait accompli’?  Doesn’t he trust me? Why couldn’t I be included in the discussions from the beginning? How can Brian expect me to support this decision”?
Directive versus Coaching Leadership
This illustrates very well the difference between the “directive leader” and the “coaching leader”, which is largely in mindset and approach.
With the directive leader, typical traits would include