What do all sports teams have in common? Whether it’s a high school, college, or professional team, they all have a coach. And while a coach handles a wide array of functions, the most important thing that a coach can do is to help each member of the team realize their full potential. It’s not about telling people what to do or showing them how smart you are. Coaching is all about helping others be their best so that the team can be its best.
Similarly, an organizational leader needs be a coach to his or her team. However, this can be a tough role for many leaders because it requires intentional effort and an investment of their time. When leaders get busy (which is often), coaching falls by the wayside. This is definitely the case for me — I just simply struggle with allocating time to be a coach. I think anyone who serves in a managerial or leadership role can identify with this challenge. We get so busy with our projects, tasks, and putting out fires that we neglect investing in those that we lead.
As leaders we have to find a way to work coaching into our daily rhythm so that it becomes second nature. It doesn’t need to be an “event” that occurs infrequently (like the dreaded performance review); it should be a regular occurrence that naturally happens as a result of the relationship we’ve built with our team.
Why is it so important that leaders find the time to coach their team?
Increased Clarity – in my most recent post, I talked about the importance of clarity. Coaching creates an opportunity to create a lot of clarity and eliminate confusion. You can answer questions, provide direction, and articulate expectations.
Higher Morale – when you coach someone, you give them personal attention and let them know that they matter. And when you invest time in helping them grow and develop, their level of morale increases. As a result, they feel more confident about themselves and about their role.
Better Performance – results are the key, whether you’re on a football team or a project team, and it is the job of the leader to help each individual maximize their potential and utilize their strengths to help the team succeed. When team members have clarity, and morale is high, performance is bound to follow.
As leaders, let’s commit to investing in our people through intentional coaching aimed at maximizing potential and capitalizing on strengths. There are enough leaders out there who marginalize people by diminishing their potential and focusing on their weaknesses; we don’t need any more.