Leadership vs Management Page 3Authors: Byron and Catherine Pulsifer, © 2016
In a leadership role, it is vital to keep the benefits of being a coach uppermost in your mind. In the following sections, we discuss the benefits that we found to be some of the most rewarding for us as coaches. As Og Mandino so aptly said, "Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later."
a) Rewards - helping people grow and develop
In a coaching role, you will experience many more rewards of seeing people develop than in the role of manager. By helping and teaching people to grow, they will develop before your eyes!
b) Builds your skills on adapting to change
Moving to a coach from a manager is a huge change. Your ability to change your style and how you work will help build your adaption to change skills. Coaching requires skills: when to delegate, when to step in, when to voice an opinion, what to let go. The list could go on and on. You are still accountable for the performance of the team, yet you no longer control every aspect of the team. Instead, you coach the team to meet performance expectations. Coaching is a major change from managing. Your success in coaching verses managing will show your ability to change personally.
c) Business results are owned by the team not just by you
Once people have an understanding of the bigger picture, have expectations clearly spelled out for them, and understand how their role fits in the overall strategy of the company, you will find they will have a stronger focus on the business results as well.
In one of my previous roles, people completed their tasks without knowing how their individual jobs contributed to the overall business strategy of the company. When the year end results were finalized, I felt like I was the only one who was concerned about our contribution, or lack thereof, to the company's profitability.
However, once I reviewed the results with everyone, showed them how their role impacted the results, and clearly defined the expectations of each role, the entire unit's interest changed! No longer was I the only one waiting to see the monthly results. When the results were good, we all celebrated; when the results were not as we planned, ideas and action plans to improve were suggested and implemented by everyone. The attitude changed from one where only one person was responsible, to the attitude that it was the entire teams' responsibility.
d) Decisions not just on your shoulders
You will also find that people will start to question the "why" that problems occur; instead the focus is now on preventing them from happening. The team will start making decisions and implement action plans in regards to issues or concerns that previously were referred to you (the manager). Problems that used to be referred to you will now be solved by members of the team rather than looking to you for all the solutions. You will find, with time, that your team will start becoming solution oriented rather than problem focused. Attitudes change from one of "it's not my problem, it's managements problem", to one of "what can we do; how do we resolve it"
e) Change in attitudes from "how do we do it" to "why do we do it"
You also will find people question why they are doing something a certain way. Rather than waiting to be told to change, people will take the initiative and start implementing change. Attitudes will change from one of a "9-5 job", to more of a business attitude, expressed by what can we do to make our business more successful.
f) Long term benefits
When you first start coaching a new employee or first start changing your style to one of a coach, it does consume a lot of your time. As each individual team member develops, however, and grows in his/her role, you will start to see the benefits from your initial time investment.
g) Financial Success
By giving people the authority to make work process or work flow decisions, and the information they need to understand their individual and team impact on the company, you are helping them to appreciate that they have a personal stake in the corporations' success or failure. When people know that each role contributes to the viability of the company they will strive to make it successful! If the business fails, they no longer have a job. With both an empowering work environment and critical knowledge of the importance of their contribution, people will start to look for ways to make the business more successful. And, what’s even more crucial is that team members will continuously apply a critical view of work flow and process adjustments not just haphazardly but on an on-going basis.
Are There Common Traits of a Coach?
We've talked about several advantages of adopting a coaching style in the work environment. At this point, it is worthwhile to examine and list what we consider to be the common traits of a coach.
These common traits can be utilized in every work environment and, therefore, are not applicable to only one type of company, or to one industry. As well, these common coaching traits are applicable to all sizes of companies and organizations from a few employees to thousands of employees. The list below summarizes what we have found to be the most common ones.
Be Future Focused
You must be able to paint a picture of what the future looks like. Create a vision that everyone strives for. Your vision helps set the direction for the team.
"Vision is the art of seeing things invisible."
Believe In Yourself
Self-confidence and a belief in your abilities is a must. To instill confidence in others, you first must have confidence in yourself, and part of this confidence is the openess to admit your mistakes.
"I think there is something, more important than believing: Action! The world is full of dreamers, there aren't enough who will move ahead and begin to take concrete steps to actualize their vision."
W. Clement Stone
Develop Leadership Skills In Everyone You Work With
You need to have an understanding that everyone you work with needs some level of leadership skills, and you need to work to develop and enhance those skills in people.
Tomorrow's world will dictate faster decisions, and more competition. You need everyone to use their leadership skills with the customers they are working with. The days of one leader are gone!
"Outstanding leaders go out of the way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish."
You may say that communication skills have always been critical. As a coach, however, your communication skills have to be superior. Your verbal communications skills have to be mastered so that your messages are clear, to the point, and allow no confusion. Even at the best of times, our messages can be misunderstood.
The art of storytelling is an excellent way to communicate change and the reasons why change is necessary. People need to hear your message and understand the impact it has on them as an individual, as a team, and to the overall corporation. In a coaching role, perhaps the most critical skill you require to effectively coach your team is listening skills. Unfortunately we do not get a lot of training on listening skills. You must learn how to listen properly.
Let your staff express ideas and challenges they face. You need to facilitate the discussion helping them explore ideas and work on solutions to meet their challenges.
Often times, we are tempted to solve their problems for them. People will not learn, however, if they do not work through the process.
Understanding Change and How People React To It
Change affects people in different ways. Some grab on to it and others hang on to old ways resisting change. You need to have an appreciation of this to help individuals move through change.
"To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what they have already achieved, but at what they aspire to do."
As we all know, every team faces its challenges. There are times when things just don't go the way we have planned. You must be able to motivate people by helping them see where they went wrong yet allowing them to learn from their mistakes. It is important to understand that motivation comes from within a person; it is not something you can develop in people. So how can a coach be a motivator?
First of all, you must be motivated. How do you react to change? How do you react when things do not go as planned? How do you react when mistakes happen? Your motivation to find solutions rather than stay caught in the issue or problem will help your team stay motivated.
"Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement."
At times, we all become overwhelmed. An effective coach, however, has to be able to to take one step at a time rather than being overwhelmed by the issues. It is your responsibility, as a coach, to ensure people have the skills and tools to excel. You can teach people technical information, you can provide training, but if people are not motivated then you will not achieve success. Motivated staff is one of the keys to staying ahead of your business competition!
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