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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

People Need Coaching - Part 2 of 2

Part 1 of this article laid the groundwork for transforming managers into coaches. Part 2 of this article will focus on what every manager can do to become a great coach. Much of this transformation from manager to coach is rooted in the relationships a Manager has with co-workers. In their book Stop Managing, Start Coaching, authors Jerry W. Gilley and Nathaniel W. Boughton describe nine key components behind a manager-employee relationship:


1. Freedom from Fear (think outside the box)
2. Communication (two way, not one way communication)
3. Interaction (Spend time with your employees)
4. Acceptance (non-judgmental)
5. Personal Involvement (get to know your people personally)
6. Trust (sharing, respect, openness)
7. Honesty
8. Self Esteem (focus on what a person is good at)
9. Professional Development

One of the key drivers behind an effective coach is being able to influence and teach others. Likewise, the best employees for the team will be those who are life-long learners; i.e. they enjoy having the coach teach them, learning new concepts, and applying knowledge to problem solving. Therefore, quality-coaching environments will require the right kind of manager (willing to spend the time on coaching) and the right kind of employee (very receptive to learning).

One of the key foundations behind coaching is the evaluation of performance data. Coaches use very quantifiable benchmarks of performance, comparing current performance against these benchmarks of excellence. Therefore, in order for a manager to be highly effective as a coach, the manager will have to:

  • Establish a set of quantifiable goals in terms of time, money, or some other specific metric
  • Collect measurement data on a regular basis to evaluate performance. Things like surveys or even casual observations can help. More sophisticated approaches such as the 360 Degree Evaluation Model can be used for consistency throughout the department or organization.
  • Analyze the performance data, identifying the gaps in performance and areas for improvement. Working with the employee to close the performance gap.
  • Once goals have been reached, establish a new set of goals and go through the process again to continuously make progress.
Perhaps the single biggest driver behind coaching is leadership. Coaches tend to have outstanding leadership skills. The legendary coach Vince Lombardi summed it up as follows:

The Lombardi Rules – The Winning Model

1. Know yourself – You can't improve on something you don't understand.
2. Build your character – Character is not inherited, it is something that can be, and needs to be, built and disciplined.
3. Earn your stripes – Leaders earn the right to lead, they manifest character and integrity, and they get results.
4. Think big picture – big picture is your roadmap and rudder. It can't change in response to minor setbacks, but it must change as the competitive environment changes.

- What it Takes to be #1: Vince Lombardi on Leadership by Vince Lombardi, Jr.

In conclusion, coaching is about assisting and collaborating with others to improve their performance in a one-to-one, personal relationship. Coaching is about becoming passionate over performance and results, conveying this performance in very measurable terms to people, holding them accountable for these measurements, and above all else, helping them get there. Coaching exemplifies the best qualities in managing since it offers what people need for optimal performance.

To be successful as a people manager, you must recognize three very basic facts about your role as a manager:

1. Management is the intervention of getting things done through others.
2. You need your employees more than they need you.
3. You get paid for what your employees do, not for what you do.
If you accept these three basics, you will come to some very important conclusions about the most appropriate interventions necessary for you to become a successful manager. It also means that the more successful you wish to be in the business world, the harder you must work to do everything possible to help your employees achieve, rather than fail. - Coaching for Improved Performance by Ferdinand F. Fournies

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