Coaching Matters

Last week I posted my thoughts on people who are coachable.  My take, it’s the most important trait you can hire for.  You can see the post here.

One of the most interesting things about the post was a comment left by David Brock CEO and Founder of Partners in Excellence, a sales consulting firm.  David made the point that just as important to finding good coachable people, was making sure those people had coaches.

. . . Great managers need to both coach and be coachable.

We do face a real challenge, hiring people that are coachable is great, but they need to get the right coaching. Too few managers invest the time in coaching or coach effectively.

While the data is a few years old, we did a survey of several 100 sales managers a few year ago. One question was, “How frequently do you coach each sales person?” The response astounded us, 68% coached their sales people once a quarter or less.

Managers don’t understand coaching and don’t integrate coaching into the fabric of the business. To drive high performance, it’s critical to have coachable people, but it’s as critical to coach them!

David makes a great point.  To hire coachable people and then not coach them is not only inefficient, but foolish.  We need to coach the coachable.

My management style is to coach.  Some people like it and others can’t stand it.  To me a coaches job is to bring people along.  It is to get as much out of them as possible.  Coaching is about providing people the support, feedback, and honesty that will allow them to grow and be the best they can possible be.  Not everyone likes to be coached as they don’t like to be told they aren’t good at something, or that they need to improve.  A lot of people don’t like the openness and exposure that comes with coaching.

It’s because of this, coaching is hard.  Coaching takes an investment in people, management doesn’t.  Management isn’t an investment in people, it’s an investment in process, goals, and delivery.  People are just another resource to be managed.   This can work in the short-term, but not in the long-term.

Coaching is an investment people.  To be a coach takes time, commitment and understanding.  Coaching requires an understanding of the person as a person, what their motives are, their career aspirations, their strengths and weaknesses, their capabilities, their learning style, their personality, and more.  Coaching embraces the individual not the resource.

I like this part of leadership.  I get motivated and inspired by watching others reach their goals, grow as individuals and achieve greatness.  Because of this, I coach.

I invest in the people that work for me.  I challenge them to set higher goals.  I look to understand who they are and how they tick.  I want to know why they do what they do everyday, how they do it, what they want to do next, what causes them anxiety, what is a breeze, what they use as a crutch and what they avoid.   It all helps me to be a better coach.  I look to coach my people every chance I get.  Like David said, it’s not a quarterly effort, but should be an ongoing process.  Coaching happens throughout the days, weeks, and months.  Coaching is situationally driven.  Coaching is about capitalizing on situations.  Coaching requires being on the lookout  to provide opportunities for growth or improvement.  Good coaches provide support when the opportunities appear, not at some regularly scheduled time.

I like what David said.  He’s right.  Hiring coachable people is only half of the effort.  Coaching them is the other half.  Hire coaches and hire coachable people and then coach them.  It makes all the difference in the world.

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