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Vernon Richards | Quality Coach

Vernon Richards | Quality Coach

February 6, 2022

Coaching Is Not A Silver Bullet. Why I Shouldn't Rely On One Leadership Style And You Shouldn't Either.

That's not my style.

When it comes to leading people, we all have a default. However, if our preferred style doesn't match the circumstances, that's where the trouble begins! Daniel Goleman calls this the Situational Model of Leadership Styles, and I'm going to talk about what this has taught me, about me!

Here we go!


Most likely to hear, "Do it my way".

The primary objective is setting high standards for performance.

Is most effective when the team consists of highly motivated and competent individuals that need little direction.

Is least effective when the leader can't do all of their work any longer, or individuals need personal development and coordination.


Most likely to hear, "Do what I tell you".

The primary objective is immediate compliance.

Is most effective when the situation is simple.

Is least effective when the situation is complex.


Most likely to hear, "Let's remind ourselves of the bigger purpose".

The primary objective is to inspire others by providing long-term direction and vision.

Is most effective when a new vision of clear direction is needed.

Is least effective when the leader has little credibility.


Most likely to hear, "People come first".

The primary objective is creating harmony among the leader and team.

Is most effective when the team needs direct assistance like counselling or emotional support.

Is least effective when the leader lacks empathy.


Most likely to hear, "What do you think?".

The primary objective is building commitment and generating new ideas.

Is most effective when the team members are competent.

Is least effective when there is a crisis and no time to build consensus.


Most likely to hear, "Let me help you develop".

The primary objective is the long-term professional development of individuals.

Is most effective when the team member perceives a difference between where they are now and where they'd like to be.

Is least effective when the leader lacks credibility and coaching skills.

What I took from this model

I have a clear bias.

The coaching and democratic styles are my jam! Consequently, I need to work on the pacesetting and commanding styles for situations without enough time to explain.

Just as importantly, is recognising what kind of leader I want to follow. I like to build trust with anyone I'm following so that when they can't explain, I can still relax. So commanding is a haaard pass for me!

Finally, Goleman found that the Pacesetting and Commanding styles reduce performance. Leaders must use them with caution! The other four boost performance.

I encourage you all to reflect on how you lead and also how you like to be led too 🙏🏾