It has been long established in the management literature that coaching and leadership are intrinsically linked in the effective development of professionals, but what is the secret, magical alchemy that goes on behind closed doors in those intimate one-to-one coaching interventions, that can turn someone into a highly motivated, inspiring and awesome leader? This was a question brought to class by a student. I have to confess that whilst I quite like the idea of wearing the dark robe and the equally dark attitude of Severus Snape and delivering my coaching masterclasses as a dark arts lesson, I’m afraid there is no wizardry at play, well not much anyway. However, the Harry Potter author J K Rowling could answer the base-line question here in that it is all about good storytelling.

We are the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and believe. As the old adage goes – if we believe we can do something, or we believe we can’t, we are exactly right. This is particularly relevant in leadership development. We find that no matter how inspired or aspirational an individual may be regarding their leadership journey, if there are elements of their internal story that aren’t fully believable, they will find it difficult to achieve their leadership goals.

If there is any wizardry at all on the curriculum for coaching and mentoring it is in developing the ability of coaches to help their coachees to craft a new, better, and believable internal story. After all, what is a belief but a story we have told ourselves so many times that it becomes our truth. Armed with a new personal story that has converted limitations into possibilities and fears into dreams a leader will leave the coaching intervention with the confidence to fully utilise all of the resources at their disposal to gain the knowledge and skills needed to build a successful future. In my book that is the magic of leadership coaching.