The Difference Between Traditional Leadership and Coaching-Based Leadership (Episode 1 of “How Do I Lead Now?”)

In this weekly video coaching series called, “How Do I Lead Now?” Cylient CEO Dianna Anderson will discuss leading in “the new normal.” Each week, a video will be released talking about how to lead during times of uncertainty, and how to integrate coaching-based leadership approaches into your day-to-day conversations. We’re starting with the difference between traditional leadership and coaching-based leadership.

To get the most value out of this series, we’re asking you to reflect and learn with and from each other. At the end of each episode, Dianna will pose a question for you to reflect upon. Write down some thoughts in a journal or a Word document as a reflection exercise. Then, please comment below with your insights, thoughts or questions from your reflection or email us at


This week, Dianna focuses on the difference between traditional leadership approaches, like having the answers to problems and telling people how to solve them, and coaching-based leadership approaches. With coaching-based leadership approaches, leaders use coaching approaches like asking an insightful question or using an insightful observation to help ignite insight. That insight creates the motivation to move ideas into action.

Reflection Questions

Watch the video above, then reflect on these questions:

  • On the scale from traditional leadership to coaching-based leadership, where do you think you fall?
  • Is it reasonable to have all the answers right now?
  • What is it costing you personally if you are still using traditional leadership approaches right now?
  • If you’re a leader of leaders, what is it costing your leaders if you are holding them to a really high standard of needing to have answers and keeping everything under control right now?

Post your insights, questions and comments in the comment box below.

Other Episodes of “How Do I Lead Now?”

Watch other episodes with the links below.

  • Episode 1: The difference between traditional leadership approaches and coaching-based leadership
  • Episode 2: What kind of leader do I need to be now?
  • Episode 3: How to meet people where they are
  • Episode 4: How to coach someone through fear
  • Episode 5: How to make friends with fear
  • Episode 6: Why the questions we ask and answer for ourselves really matter
  • Episode 7: Why intentions work better than goals now
  • Episode 8: Understanding and appreciating worldviews
  • Episode 9: What to say when you don’t know what to say
  • Episode 10: Using traditional and coaching-based leadership together
  • Episode 11: How to coach people to build confidence
  • Episode 12: Discerning patterns as a leadership skill
  • Episode 13: How to create change in complex situations
  • Episode 14: The problem with perfection

Receive Episodes in Your Inbox

If you want to receive these weekly episodes in your inbox, sign up and start with Week 1 here.

2 thoughts on “The Difference Between Traditional Leadership and Coaching-Based Leadership (Episode 1 of “How Do I Lead Now?”)

    Scott says: May 27, 2020 at 11:12 am

    The big cost of old style leadership is the loss of creativity by the subordinates. They have a lot to give and the desire to do so, but the old style leader has no use for that if it is even partially contrary to his views. This is a very frustrating position for the subordinate, and the best ones feel compelled to leave to another job to get out from underneath it.

    Dianna Anderson says: May 27, 2020 at 2:49 pm

    I completely agree with you Scott. It’s harder for leaders who have founded their power-base in authority to transition to the more open and receptive space that is needed for creativity to catch hold. I believe that the multifaceted, continuously-evolving nature of the challenges that we currently face (and will be dealing with for quite some time) makes creativity an essential competitive advantage. The companies that recognize this sooner, and establish spaces where creativity thrives, are likely to do well in the new world that is manifesting around us. I believe that the cost of clinging to old power-based, direct and correct leadership will mount as times goes on—for the individuals and the organizations that resist this imperative evolution in their leadership styles and organizational cultures.


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