As a coach or consultant, I have worked in a wide range of contexts and as a leader I have had a bit of variety too. Interestingly, I have noticed my style shifting from one context to another, which has led me to question when and where I am the most effective.
A coach or facilitator has the ability to facilitate self-determined change. They provoke self-discovery with skilful, non-directive questioning, often within an imposed structure/process/model, that helps to expand thinking and reach committed outcomes. The client/stakeholder comes up with the answer and the client/stakeholder owns it. A mentor or expert has the ability to accelerate growth by giving advice. They help by increasing understanding (educating & explaining) and increasing awareness of options that are outside of the person’s experience. They are adding in stuff that the individual would probably not discover through reflection alone. As a leader/consultant: If we are extremely facilitative is it possible that we are not providing adequate direction? If we are direct and didactic, are we commanding and controlling rather than empowering and leading?
What happens when you have the skill and experience to do both? Do you add more value than a facilitator because you can add more insight and options? Do you add more value than an expert because you empower them and they own it? What’s your style?