Vital Leadership skills for the New Era

Coaching and mentoring, the key leadership skills for now and the future

Marilyn Tam
5 min readJan 27, 2021


Successful leaders now are more coaches and mentors than business whizzes or domain experts. Surveys and research are showing that the top leadership skills for the future are the abilities to coach, support their employees and to foster teamwork. Are you prepared?

Coaching and mentoring your team fosters trust, motivation, innovation and increased producitivty.

The past year has graphically shown us that sudden disruptive change can happen without warning. What worked in the past is not going to resolve the issues of the present and future. The previously familiar command and control style of leadership is ineffective in managing the challenges we face now. Harvard Business review’s article by Herminia Ibarra & Anne Scoular illustrated how successful leaders today coach and mentor their teams to achieve optimal results.

Yet most leaders overestimate their abilities in developing and motivating their teams. In research by Joe Folkman & Jack Zenger published in HBR, the majority of 2,761 leaders studied overestimated their coaching and mentoring skills. 24 percent were significantly off the mark on how effective they were in fostering their employees’ abilities to achieving their best, individually and as a team.

Yelling and reprimanding employees, especially in a meeting, is a poor way of coaching and motivating others.

My first corporate boss after college yelled constantly instead of speaking in normal tones. He shouted at everyone he worked with, in person and on the phone. He didn’t listen and barked out orders whenever he needed anything. Yet he thought he was a great leader, telling (shouting at) anyone around that he’s the best trainer of new executive trainees, including for yours truly. No one dared to contradict him — for fear of more screaming. It’s a wonder that he lasted as long as he did even back then when the hard knocks way of developing employees was more accepted.

Today when talent can be accessed globally to work remotely, leaders have to establish a culture that fosters engagement, growth and collaboration to attract the best.

The competition for quality workers is strong and they have great flexibility in their choice for…



Marilyn Tam

Marilyn Tam, global speaker, best selling author (The Happiness Choice), business leader and humanitarian. Formerly the CEO of Aveda, President Reebok, VP Nike