The Coach’s Handbook Part 7 – Extraordinary Coaching

Extraordinary coaching is brought about by fusing the uniquely human characteristics mentioned previously with the experience and perspective useful to the overall game plan already residing within the coach.  An extraordinary coach will be one who truly measures his/her performance by the performance of the employees (the players).  This approach will yield not only superior results, but will establish a foundation for an ongoing flow of future coaches who understand the power of coordinating and propelling (vs. controlling or ignoring) players’ potential. Certain observations can be made about the ingredients which set the stage for extraordinary coaching: The player needs to volunteer for and be eager for the relationship with the coach. The coach always leaves the exit door open.  Players can terminate the coaching relationship.  This is different from leaving a managerial relationship and does not necessarily mean leaving the company. Coached organizations must be made of volunteers and people who love to play. The coach never has permission to develop people into anything they have not asked he/she to develop. Coaches develop capabilities.  They do not get tasks accomplished.  Managers focus on the task, but coaches use the task as a metaphor for development.  They get the task accomplished, but use it to develop people Coaches manage the context and the resource constraints.  Coaches manipulate the time and resources available to make the task at hand an all-consuming challenge. The game the coach sets up pulls players far beyond their belief of what they can do – and far beyond any realistic assessment of what they can do.  Goals are plucked from the domain of possibility and...

The Coach’s Handbook Part 6 – Coaching is an Art not a Science

While the structure of the coaching relationship has been discussed, little has been said about the actual process of effective coaching. How does one learn to function as an effective coach? What skills and abilities does one need to have? Can coaching be taught in the same way we teach a science or technology? Or, is coaching more like an art, which can be expressed, but can never be formalized into a general set of rules or procedures? We take the position that coaching is more like a performing art rather than a structured technology for human interaction. We have already acknowledged that coaches often make use of rules, techniques, and other methodologies when they are needed. At the heart of the process of coaching lies a more fundamental, non-structured responsiveness which results in uniquely human expressions such as: compassion, leadership, creativity, wisdom, vision, and commitment. You cannot pretend these things; it has to come from the soul. In a similar illustration, professional dancers, athletes, and other artistic performers need certain basic skills and abilities to reach a high level of professional performance. However, the source of their actions and behaviors is not merely those skills themselves. A human being does not perform coaching as a simple product of learned skills and behaviors. More is required for successful coaching.   Next time….Extraordinary...

The Coach’s Handbook Part V – Beliefs of a Developmental Coach

Here is a chart* that contrasts coaching beliefs with managerial assumptions. This will give you greater a sense of the difference between a control-oriented management system and a commitment-oriented coaching system.               *Adapted from materials created by Robert Shaw, M.D.  Chart developed by Gloria DeVoss, MSW.  Adapted to Business by Roy Quiriconi   Next time – Coaching is an Art, not a...

The Coach’s Handbook Part 4 – Rethinking Managerial Practices

Who determines the fate of our organizations and corporations? If one believes in the notion of rugged individualism and a “can do” spirit (these and other individualistic values are deeply appreciated in our culture), one would say that CEO’s, presidents, and managers are responsible for whatever happens. However, as the world in which we live becomes more complex, a new perspective is needed. The buy-in of groups of people, not individuals, will be essential to moving ahead in business. From this vantage point, one can see that the followers determine the fate of leaders. There is example after example in which the fate and/or success of the enterprise is related to what the people who are on the field decide to do. In our culture, we have a tendency to be fixated on the leader/manager as if he or she will be the sole ingredient in the outcome. The truth is that the success or failure of our businesses is already in the hands of the people who work there. We just don’t acknowledge it. The rethinking which we are suggesting is that top managers shift attention off themselves and see their jobs as one of developing the players. Employees also have to rethink their roles. It is very easy to see oneself as just a cog in the wheel—just following orders. It is different to consider yourself as a major determinant of where the business is going to go. When an employee sees oneself as a crucial player, a partnership with management can be established in which they view each other as resources playing a common game with...

The Missing Link: Revolutionizing Performance Management through Execution Management

Over the years, I have been haunted and vexed by four enigmas. What has eluded me is a process that supports the implementation of the strategic plan.  A lot of time and energy goes into yearly planning.  A leadership team remaining focused on execution of the plan becomes the challenge given the day-to-day fires.  This issue breaks down into the four enigmas that, until recently, I have not been able to solve.  Recently I had a breakthrough and have components that, together, make up the missing link.  Enigma #1 My first enigma is: once you have an annual strategic plan, how do you ensure follow-through and implementation?  How do you support real action throughout the year?  How do you prevent the unintended syndrome that results from a beautiful plan in a beautiful binder sitting with all the other similar binders in the CEOs office?  Our breakthrough came when we were introduced to the execution management philosophy called the Keyne Methodology which we support by utilizing software called Keynelink.  Enigma #2 My second enigma is: how do you make time for the coaching and development of your employees and direct reports?  How do you know what your employees are doing that will directly impact the strategic plan and corporate initiatives?  How do you know if your employees have any relationship or understanding to the strategic plan?   How do you find time to meet with your employees and direct reports and discuss their progress on goals and objectives?  Do your employees even have goals and objectives?  As business leaders, we intuitively know that we need to have timely meetings with employees...

The Coach’s Handbook Part 3 – The “Coaching” Model vs. the “Management” Model

Coaching revolves around the concept (metaphor) of a game.  Games tend to be seen as fun, and in their best light, not tied to survival.  One can be passionate about playing as it relates to survival.  In the traditional way of managing, we work because we must. In sports one plays because he/she wants to.  Both players and coaches are vital to the outcome of the game.  Coaches are a resource to the players.  Serious teams, of course, need a coach, even serious athletes at the top of their game will employ a coach.  Why?  It is because the perspective, knowledge, and skill of the coach is not only appreciated but required to excel. In sports there is always a notion that you have to develop yourself in order to be competitive.  The coach is instrumental and vital to that development.  This is in strong contrast to business where managers are seldom seen as resources to the employees.  In fact, many employees see their bosses as impediments to maximizing individual potential.  Furthermore, managers may take all the credit for their employees’ successes and thereby become the center point of the organization. In sports (and acting) the coach never goes on the actual playing field.  The purpose of the coach is to continually enhance the effectiveness of the players who are on the field.  Coaches stand on the sidelines.  Translate that into business and the traditional hierarchical triangle can become transformed into a performance pizza with coaches represented as the cheese and tomato sauce. Some of the notions that come with this model are that ultimately the front line employees...

The Coach’s Handbook Part 2 – The Managing Model

In traditional, hierarchical managing, the manager is the focal point. Basically, everyone else is around to do the manager’s work. The name of the game is to do what the manager tells you to do, and the way he tells you (or you think he would tell you) to do it. Some of the beliefs which justify the rationality of this design are: knowledge flows up; the higher up you are in the organization, the more you are supposed to know; compensation flows up; power flows up. The goal in our work culture is to become a manager. To remain at a lower level is demeaning and has negative connotations. The higher up you are, the better you are. “Better” is meant in a superior sense here, so that managers are literally the superior ones in this model. Problems flow down. Whatever problems there are at the top are passed down to those below for solution, fault or blame. Many of these beliefs have become unconscious and unexamined. They automatically come with the territory of our work-lives and culture. This hierarchical/managerial design is a historic model. It was developed for industry during the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. People from the country sought work in factories. They needed to be organized in an efficient way. The work was routine and fairly simple. Hence, the system, which the organizational chart represents, was born. Under this system, the manager knows what to do and the worker follows orders and does exactly what the boss says. In the last 150 years, this system has changed relatively little. It is geared towards producing mediocre or average products. As long as you met the standard, you could...

Intro to The Coach’s Handbook

It is dark, and the stadium is quiet.  You walk out onto the field and imagine the crowd, the noise and the players.  You visualize the players whom you have coached; people with whom you have worked and struggled with day after day; stepping out on the field and winning the game. You are a high school math teacher in an inner city school celebrating how your students just aced a national exam. (A’ la Jaime Escalante in Stand and Deliver). The play was performed brilliantly.  The actors became immediate stars.  The audience was moved and you, the director, got your job done. She walks across the stage to receive her highest academic honor; being valedictorian.  You sit in the audience, proud as punch remembering all the hours at the dining room table going over homework year after year.   What is similar with the previous pictures?  In coaching, the you is not the player or doer.  The you is the person behind the player.  We will call this being a coach.  Now what does this have to do with the business world?  The very fabric of commerce and industry is being changed so that coaching will be the prevailing style of interaction between employees in successful organizations.  Coaching is conducive to learning.  Our organizations are faced with an environment in which an organization’s ability to learn and grow are its ticket to thriving.  Small businesses, large businesses and corporations are in the middle of dramatic changes.  In the face of this, business is rethinking its managerial practices and redesigning itself.  Our traditional management structures are being replaced and something new needs to emerge....

I Am Not Your Bystander

Not everything that is faced can be changed.  But Nothing can be changed until it is faced. James Baldwin These are all our children.  We will profit by or pay for whatever they become. James Baldwin   It is a cloudy day in Los Angeles and I am at one of our beloved clients.   As I weave my way through the parked white delivery trucks, I notice that much of humanity is represented here by the workforce going about their activities.  Everyone is represented, men and women of different races and ages all engaged and doing tasks.  Diversity is apparent as I walk into this urban work place.    Recently, I saw a powerful movie called: “I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO“. The movie is based on the last writings of James Baldwin.  While I knew Mr. Baldwin as a prominent African American thinker, I did not know much about his writings.  One of the ideas that impacted me was the idea of institutionalized racism and poverty.   Yes, the urban work place at my client’s is diverse, but the diversity is split, segregated along back of the house manufacturing jobs versus front of the house more executive and technical jobs.  This segregation usually occurs from lower paying jobs to the higher paying jobs.  The non-white folks are over there and the white folks are over here.  Where does the segregation cycle start?  Mr. Baldwin suggests it starts with separate neighborhoods with high incidents of violence, poverty and bad schools.   You know the neighborhoods that I am referring to.    That you know where the diversity splits occur speaks to exactly...

The Coach’s Credo

Make a gameplan Explain the gameplan and rules up front Play on a level field Let everyone participate Catch teammates doing things right Go to bat for your teammates and bash away barriers Swing for the fences Singles are “OK” too Take credit for losses Share in the victories   Written by:   Mark Daly, On Target Media, Inc. Cincinnati, Ohio...