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coach (kōch)

November 21, 2010

To coach or not to coach, that is the question…but what is coaching?

Managing is making sure people do what they know how to do.

Training is teaching people to do what they don’t know how to do.

Mentoring is showing people how the people who are really good at doing something do it.

Coaching is none of these – it is helping to identify the skills and capabilities that are within the person, and enabling them to use them to the best of their ability – and by that increasing the independence within the individual, and reducing reliance. – Nick Rixon

Coach.  The word is everywhere.  Peruse business magazines, books and blogs and you will be told how important it is to lead by coaching.  So why is it so difficult to do?

We have grown up in a system where we are taught and managed first by our families, then our teachers and finally our supervisors as we start working.  We excel, get promoted and find our selves in a leadership position.  All of a sudden the rules of the game have changed and while we have all of this experience and mentoring around training and managing we are lacking in the skill of coaching and facilitation.

Which is why all good coaches usually start with their very own coach.  Here are five tips to coaching success:

  1. Ask questions. Lots of them.  Especially if you already know the answer.
  2. It’s all about the people, not you.  Your measure of success is how much you can encourage personal growth in others to make yourself no longer needed.
  3. Step back and trust. You can set people up for success but at the end of the day they are the players and you have to sit back and watch them play.  Trusting you have done all you could to prepare them for the game.
  4. It’s a new way of thinking.  You have to unlearn a lifetime of learning. Reading the definitions above over and over again will help get the new message across.

Sounds like a lot of work?  It is.  But it is well worth the effort.  There is nothing more rewarding than watching those you coach excel.