How Servant Leaders Deliver Remarkable Results

Pressure produces compliance, not commitment.

The compliant never achieve greatness.

It’s not leadership to declare a random goal and pressure people to perform. “Increase profits by ten percent!”

The heart of servant leadership is bringing out the best in people.

In a recent conversation, Tony Pante, SAP’s global COO of Inside (Commercial) Sales said that coaching is a pillar of servant leadership.

Coaching connects learning with practice and reinforces change, while keeping an eye on results.

Coaches ask questions like:

  1. What outcomes do you/we want? Believe in?
  2. What behaviors will likely produce desired outcomes?
  3. What’s important to you about your goals?
  4. What strengths do you currently have that will help you achieve your goals?
  5. How might you rise to this new challenge? How have you risen in the past?
  6. What will be different for you when you achieve your goals?
  7. What’s preventing you from reaching your goals? What might you stop doing?
  8. When are you at your best? How might you leverage that as you move forward?
  9. What’s energizing you? How does that connect to your goals, if at all?
  10. What’s the next step?

On resistance:

I asked Tony about resistance toward coaching. He said, “Slow down to go forward isn’t in the DNA.”

It’s a challenge to slow down. Talking isn’t doing. Successful people love to focus on DO.

Resistance comes from people who believe coaching is about hand-holding, rather than achieving great results with passion and joy.

On magic pills:

Coaching isn’t the answer to everything.

The number one quality of a great coachee is aspiration. Resistant people can’t be coached because the questions you ask are usually leading, rather than open.

Curiosity is manipulation when you only accept the “right” answer.

What questions help leaders bring out the best in their team members?

This post is inspired by my conversation with Tony Pante.

Tony Pante: COO of the Global Commercial (Inside) Sales Team at SAP driving Innovation and Optimization Programs across the world. Primary responsibilities include: Strategy, Go To Market Development and Execution, Business Performance Insight, Continuous Improvement, and Leadership Development.

Tony in his own words (3:39):

(The reference to Bob in the video is a reference to my friend and coach Bob Hancox.)