Author, educator, and motivational speaker, Dr. William Arthur Ward wrote a phrase that I try to remember. It gives me personal strength to do the right thing, rather than the easy thing – ‘The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.’ The effective Coach uses a combination of these, but at the right moment with the right individual.
There are key differences between the Terminator (see Part 1) way of managing people and that of the Coach. Whereas the Terminator tends to get things done by lecturing, directing and telling, the Coach asks thought-provoking questions, makes effective requests, listens well – especially for the unsaid, and offers constructive effective feedback to help someone learn and develop.
The Coach is excellent at helping others to advance their skills, building strength and providing career guidance. The best coaches are patient, perceptive, self aware, reflective, open, supportive and keen observers. They are adept at giving valuable feedback that doesn’t generate defensiveness and are great communicators. They help their employees by uncovering their blind spots and challenging self-limiting beliefs. Most effective coaching takes place through observation, assessment, dialogue, inquiry and conversations.
A coaching leader balances meeting short-term targets with long-term goals towards achieving the vision of an organisation. The Coach pro-actively links development to organisational goals, holding conversations that reach beyond work, helping people find strengths and weaknesses and linking these to career progression and personal development plans. They are good at delegating challenging projects, demonstrating trust and which often leads to high levels of loyalty and personal development.
The Coach does not ‘wrap you in cotton wool’. They give insight from their own experience, they set high standards, they delegate, and they give tough projects to their team and they’ll give you feedback….a great deal. The Coach is an individual that is genuinely interested in helping others succeed.
The coaching leadership style is most effective when the employees working under the coach are receptive to this help. People that do not want development, that are happy to be in the office at 1 minute to 9 in the morning and leave at 1 minute past 5 in the afternoon, whilst not always, but quite often, are threatened by this kind of management style.
The Coach often portrays the following characteristics:
- Has high standards and continually raises the bar for their own learning and performance
- Shares personal experience and learning, freely with others
- Questions people around their thoughts and feelings to inspire personal growth
- Uses 360 degree feedback to help them continually grow
- Is approachable and intuitive
- Has a large network to pool information from and seek advice
- Sees unrealised potential in others and helps them to see it for themselves
- Can challenge others without making them feel criticised
- Is passionate about the success of others
- Is able to coach for both today (results) and tomorrow (progression)
Coaching takes time
Not all businesses / teams have time for the Coach to do a great job. And it DOES take time to develop people. Every business / organisation has targets to meet of one sort or another. Even the best Coach has to weigh up the effort and time involved to develop someone into a role, versus the cost-benefit of recruiting the right person into the right role, at the right time, at the right cost. Not everyone can be coached quickly enough to the level required, if at all, and sometimes tough commercial decisions will have to be made as to whether the person needs to find a better role that better suits their skills. A good Leader needs to make the choice at the right time, so as not to let the rest of the team down by carrying people who can’t develop their potential quickly enough.
The Coach uses personal energy developing their people – physical, mental, emotional and sometime spiritual energy. The Coach needs to keep in touch with their energy levels, to ensure they stay fit and keep themselves well whilst doing the best for their people.
Be sure to read part 3 of Leadership Styles – The Oracle