Taking over a manager position makes one think about what one is responsible
Thinking about being a manager or a coach can lead to many questions. Do
they not both require leadership skills? These
questions are on many people's mind. What do I do as a
The best way to think about what it is like to be coach is to think of a
sports team. A coach is behind the bench but is always with the team.
The coach does not play in the game, but the coach helps the players
identify areas to improve their game and guides their development by
demonstrating or explaining the requirements.
Here is a list of the things that a sport coach does with their team:
- they provide encouragement, even when the team loses the game
- they encourage players to discuss all aspects of the game, the good and
- they provide inspiration and motivation to the players by helping them
see the positives
- they have a vision for the team, and are constantly sharing this vision
with the players
- they constantly look for ways to help their players by identifying training
needs, areas where they can help the player improve
- they are open to change, will listen to change, will listen to their players ideas,
and the coach is willing to make changes in order to help the team succeed
- they communicate expectations, and work with the team to meet the
- they help the team stay focused on solutions rather than problems
- they believe in their people and work to ensure their potential is developed
- they are demanding because they want the team to do better;
- they ensure the skills the players possess are honed to perfection by
- they will focus on the "why" something happened, not the "how"
did it happen
- when on the playing field, the minute to minute decisions are made by
the players, the coach does not make all the decisions
- they sit on the sidelines and observe, they do not go on the field and play
the game. However, if the game is being played or conducted poorly, they will make
changes for the overall good of the team
- when the team wins the game, the team is in the lime light, the coach is not
the center of attention
- they create shared goals among the team
- they spend time getting to know and understanding each individual on the
- they are committed to the team
A Business Coach
If you translate the role of a "sports coach" to a "business coach",
you find similar attributes that apply in a business environment.
- has high expectations, encourages and assists people to achieve their
- removes barriers and roadblocks so the team can meet their goals
- ensures skills learned are put into practice
- focuses on the "why", not the "how"
- leaves the day to day decisions to the team
- rewards the team for accomplishments, gives the team credit
- spends time with the team to identify peoples' strengths and weaknesses,
understands cultural differences, and the issues that face each individual
A Coach, in a business environment, is also a role model for staff. The coach
sets an example for others to follow. The behavior of the coach, especially
when all is not going well, is especially important. The coach cannot say one
thing and do another. A coach is consistent in the application of the coaching
model just not when things are going to plan.
What Are the Benefits to Me ?
If you are taking over a manager's position, and you look at the different
styles of leading people, you may find yourself asking the question of
what are the benefits to me.
One common thought of managers is that they will lose their power if they
take on a coaching role. Although the answer to their concern is
counterintuitive, what they don't realize is that they will end up with more
power by being a coach rather than a manager.
The reward in seeing people develop to their full potential far outweighs
the role of telling people what to do. Once you have provided people
with the training needed to develop the skills they require to feel confident
to complete their jobs, they are able to do the work effectively. The coach is
then able to focus more on leadership of the long term strategic goals that help to ensure
the corporation continues to move forward.
Sometimes, old style managers become so occupied with the day-to-day
decisions and putting out fires, they lose sight of the long term opportunities,
and challenges that face the corporation. The key to remember is that you
will have no power to exercise at all if your company is no longer around!
"I have never been able to conceive how any rational being could propose
happiness to himself from the exercise of power over others."
If you have a strong team working with you (notice that I didn't say working
for you), then your chances of being able to continue with your career
are greater. Some people are threatened by assuming that if the team is
strong there will be no place for them.
However, just the opposite is true. Employers are looking for leaders that
can build strong teams. The stronger each and every team is within the
company, the stronger is the entire company. There is no better example
of your worth to a company than the success of your team.
By coaching your team, you are preparing them for their next career step.
That next career step may be to take over your position so you are available
for promotion. If you ensure that your team canít operate efficiently
without you, you may have sealed your own non-promotional fate.
As well, if you do not develop your team to function without you, you are,
in essence, saying that you still operate as an old style manager. If no one
can fill your shoes, how can you ever expect to move up within your
"When the blind man carries the lame man, both go forward."
Today, employers are looking to their leaders to think more strategically.
No longer is it wise or acceptable to focus on the day-to-day issues.
The team is accountable for the day-to-day decisions, the daily
accomplishment of their tasks and duties. No longer can successful
organizations afford to have layers and layers of managers. We see
flattening of structures in all progressive corporations today.
"The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men
to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling
with them while they do it."
With all the changes affecting today's workplace, the one thing that no one
seems to have enough of is "time". By coaching your team, their skills will
become stronger. The daily decisions can be made by them rather than
you using your time to make all the decisions.
Sharing information will allow you to delegate assignments that only you had
control of in the past. This information will allow the team to make decisions
and will also educate them to help identify areas where they can implement
change that will improve the performance of the team. By involving all levels
in the companies' directions and goals, and by sharing the information,
you are allowing people to have a better understanding of the whole process
rather than keeping people narrowly focused on their job.
Overall Work Improvement
You will find by having people understand the bigger picture; they will have
individual or team suggestions to improve areas that they formerly couldn't.
People need to understand how their role fits within the entire organization.
And, people need to understand that their roles are vitally important to the
overall success of the company. If they have no sense of ownership and
don't appreciate the impact they have, they will not be motivated to find
ways they could improve the business.
And, what about the time needed for you and your personal life?
Balance in your life between work and your personal life is very important.
Without balance you eventually burnout. And personal burnout means that
your performance at work is negatively affected. And, poor performance at
work means that you could lose your job.