When surveyed, most leaders around the world will say innovation is a top priority. Yet many struggle with how to do it. So increasingly, leaders are turning to innovation coaches to help them navigate this jungle.
This begs the question: exactly how could an innovation coach help you?
A useful starting point might be to look at the frustrations leaders face when it comes to innovation. In no particular order, these might include:
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– What is innovation and how does it fit within my priorities?
– How can I engage my team in the innovation journey?
– What are the barriers stopping me and my team from being more innovative?
– What if innovation doesn’t work?
– What if I am not very creative?
– How do we move forward and measure our innovation efforts?
In my experience as an innovation coach I help leaders all the time address these types of questions.
As a former leader within a large organisation (American Express), but more importantly as an innovator myself, I fully understand and share the leader’s frustrations.
As with any coaching experience, the emphasis is on partnering and co-creating with the leader as we explore new and different ways of thinking about these questions.
Without giving specific answers to these common leadership challenges around innovation, I would make observations based on my experience of working with a number of leaders:
– There is no single correct way of innovating, nor is there one right definition of innovation. It all depends. For leaders who love certainty this is a real challenge, but it does open numerous opportunities to differentiate themselves, their brand and business.
– Creativity and innovation are skills, and like any skill the leader has acquired over the years (think of golf, for example) it takes the right tools, training and practice to improve.
– Even for leaders who don’t believe they are particularly creative or innovative, when they reflect on their career or life they will no doubt be able to think of numerous examples of new and different thinking which they can call upon.
– Innovation can be applied to every aspect of a leader’s job and can enable an improvement in their performance and results. In fact, it can give them a real edge in their careers.
– Leaders of the future have to be innovative. No ifs or buts. And they certainly have to be able to demonstrate an ability to build a more creative, productive and innovative team.
– Innovation success, confidence and momentum often involves small wins.
– Creating new approaches, products, processes, solutions and ideas is incredibly fulfilling and joyful. Creating a culture where this can happen is one of the best aspects of leadership.
– Innovation involves risk, trial and error, mistakes and setbacks – there are no guarantees. However, it also involves growth ¬– both professionally and personally.
The most effective and inspiring leaders are those who can enable their team to achieve amazing results. To do this requires new thinking, new questions and new behaviours.
An innovation coach just might be able to help you along this path.