How can executive coaching help connect the dots between strong leaders and team member productivity? Effective leaders know how to motivate the individuals within their organizations, creating a culture based on cooperation and innovation. Sharpening the leadership skills that foster positive interactions with team members can dramatically increase workforce engagement, one of the most critical elements of a company’s success.


While its roots are in physics, the “butterfly effect” asserts that one small, seemingly insignificant change in one part of a system can elicit an event or change on a larger scale: that a butterfly flapping its wings in one part of the world could, in essence, be responsible for a hurricane on the other side of the globe.

Making incremental tweaks at the leadership level can reap considerable changes at the organizational level, according to the butterfly effect. Executive coaching can help you identify areas of strength versus areas of weakness — and can provide the self-awareness, tools and resources to enhance your leadership performance, ultimately impacting the productivity of your team.


1. Communication. Strong leaders are clear communicators. Executive coaching can help you fine-tune the communication skills that are vital for effective leadership, including the ability to provide unambiguous direction, give constructive feedback, offer appropriate praise and encouragement, and impart a vision in a compelling and exciting manner. Even the non-verbal communication cues you relay to your team members can impact the messages you impart. While the contagion effect has been proven by neuroscientific studies, its proof is in everyday life: Have you ever tried to frown back at someone who is smiling at you?

2. Listening. Lack of interpersonal skills, including the inability to listen, was cited as the reason most frontline managers fail by more than half of the respondents in a 2012 survey by talent management group DDI. Asking questions, eliciting feedback from team members and listening to what they have to say allows leaders to gain valuable information that can help engender trust, develop a cohesive team, encourage an open exchange of ideas, and avert or quickly resolve problems. Listening also builds empathy, which increases a leader’s ability to see situations from multiple perspectives and to make more informed decisions.

3. Self-regulation. The best leaders are in tune with their emotions and can keep them in check. Executive coaching can help train leaders to identify their mood states, and to self-regulate. Internationally renowned author Daniel Goleman recently referred to self-regulation as “the quality of emotional intelligence that liberates us from living like hostages to our impulses.” Without it, leaders may be seen as immature, unstable, untrustworthy, and perhaps even incompetent. Goleman says that self-regulation is imperative for leaders because, among other reasons, it allows them to sustain safe, fair environments, keeping the drama at bay, and encouraging higher productivity.

What changes have you made that elicited significant improvement in team productivity?