If you've reading along in our series about
vs management role, you have learned several key strategies
and noted a few challenges. But, we're not quite finished. Let's move on to
information concerning even more challenges that a coach will face.
Getting People To Understand The Boundaries
There are times when people think with this new coach's style allows
them (as team members) to do whatever they please, however they please.
There are boundaries, however, no matter what type of leadership style
is in place. The most important aspect here is that you, as the coach,
the boundaries to the team.
Here are a couple of suggestions to help team
members to understand what the boundaries are:
- Ensure your company clearly states its values. If your company does not,
then develop team value statements. Value statements help people make
decisions. The boundary is denoted when decisions contradict or conflict
with the companies values.
- Ensure expectations are clearly communicated. By communicating
expectations, (goals, targets, objectives, whatever you want to call them),
you help to define what the boundaries are.
- If your company has a mission or vision
statement, then talk about what
this statement means in relation to the bigger picture and in relation to
the teams' role. Again, if there is no mission or vision statement then
develop a team statement.
To get team members to say what they really think and having them
be open and upfront is quite a unique challenge. Previous leadership
styles discouraged people from speaking up. So to expect people
to change overnight and truly believe it is okay to say what you think
may take time to develop trust.
You may find they are saying one thing
but thinking another. You have to put the issues on the table rather than
letting the issues go undetected or unaddressed.
People who are stuck
Some people are stuck in old ways and refuse to change.
They think if
they ignore this latest fad long enough it will go away. They attempt
to influence those around them to resist this latest change. This can be
frustrating, however, a good coach is able to identify those with that type
of mindset and work with them to move forward. There comes a point,
however, that when a person refuses to change it is best to for them and
your team that they be released from employment. It is important to realize
that not everyone will adapt to this new philosophy no matter how hard
As a Coach, Who is Your Customer?
When taking over a Managers position and being responsible for coaching
a team, an important question to ask yourself is this: who are your customers?
If you were to ask me when I was a Manager who my customers were,
I would not hesitate to tell you the consumer, the shareholders, my boss.
But in the changing environment we are in, as a coach it is important
to realize that my biggest customer is the people I am coaching.
If I want them to make the decisions, if I want them to grow and develop,
if I want them to develop the business, then I had better realize that my first
customer is the people I am coaching. I should constantly be asking myself
what their needs are, what can I do to make their job easier, and, how
can I help them become better at what they do. So often you hear leaders
state that they are coaches. But, when you look at where their priorities are,
it is not with their people; it is usually with the outside customer.
is of the utmost importance in order to survive in relation
to global competition that companies are facing today. But, your focus
must be first with the inside customer, your people!
Performance reviews can be most revealing. We do performance reviews
on staff. We ask for feedback from customers on our performance.
Yet do we have performance reviews done on ourselves by those that
we coach? This suggestion is very threatening to many leaders. However,
it is a most effective way for coaches to both learn and grow.
On the one hand, you may not agree with all the comments you get back
from your team. But the important thing to realize is not the comment itself.
The important aspect is how you can change your behavior to help
the person understand what it is you are doing.
As an example, here is a comment that I heard about my coaching style.
I was told that I was moving too fast and was being unrealistic in my
expectations. Rather than argue with the person about this comment,
I realized that if the person was thinking this way I had not done a good
enough job communicating why we needed to do, what had to be done
faster due to the competition and for the survival of our business. I learned
that I had to develop my communication skills further. I had to develop
different and better methods of communicating so that everyone could
see the urgency of moving much quicker than they had to in the past.
The one thing that strikes me is that as we progress in our career and take
on a leadership role, the person who does our review is not the one that
we most influence.
Think about how much more effective leaders would be if their own team
was an integral part of their performance review. I have seen, first hand,
the results of this review process which lead to a leader's change in the way
they acted and treated their team members.
Try a team based review process. The first time you try this review process,
it probably is best to do it without asking team members to sign their names.
You eventually need to know, however, who is making the comments
so that you can address a particular issue with a particular staff member,
or, if it is a negative comment shared by all team members, you may need
to modify your style. But initially, so there is no threat to individuals and
if you want truly honest feedback, do not have people sign their names.
This type of review will be the best development you will ever receive.
A Vital Ingredient
A lot has been written about managing and coaching over the years and
some of this information has come from former managers who really
understand the difference between being a manager and a coach.
Since I have had the opportunity to report to many managers
(and have also been a manager for many years) in the past, I have
observed many different management styles.
But, the most effective style I have experienced is the one that began
with the respect for each individual; the one who treated each individual
as unique and took the time and energy to assist that individual to learn
so that he/she could do their job effectively, and the one who mentored
him/her by guiding them along a career growth path so that they
could gain the experience needed to be considered for promotion.
Not every person is suited to be a coach even though they may have been
a great employee, or even if they were an effective manager. As well, not
every highly skilled and knowledgeable employee will make a good coach
and leader. The essential quality that is needed for a great coach or leader
is people skills, and the capability to acquire additional people skills as
they continue to develop by undertaking different and more challenging
To Manage or To Coach
Allow people to manage their own work.
If you coach people, people will manage the work.
By attempting to manage people you are limiting their potential.
A manager is a title, it does not guarantee success.
Coaching is an action, not a title and actions result in successes!
To be a coach requires: C haracter to be of strong character to show leadership O ptimism optimistic; see the future not the present A ction - the ability to take progressive action C ompassion - the ability to show compassion H umor having humor relieves stress in the workplace and yourself