In 1996 management guru Ken Blanchard and football coaching legend Don Shula published a book titled Everyone’s A Coach. It’s one of my favorite books to recommend, and one that I would encourage you to purchase, read, and pass around to your team.
The core concept of the book is the nemonic that the authors develop from the word coach:
C is for Commitment Driven…keep everyone on the team committed to doing whatever is necessary to achieve the target outcome;
O is for Overlearning…invest in developing the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of the team so that they know what to do in every situation and have been drilled to the point that doing it comes naturally;
A is for Audible Ready…allow team members to make on the spot decisions that may deviate from plan when they feel it is necessary to continue moving the team toward the ultimate goal;
C is for Consistency…treat everyone the same in terms of praising good performance and criticizing less than satisfactory performance;
H is for Honesty…take the time to communicate openly and honestly with everyone on the team so that they have the opportunity to contribute in the best way that they can to the team’s success;
It’s a simple concept and one that has as much power today as it did when Blanchard and Shula suggested it, perhaps more.
The fact is that when it comes to leading today’s teams, coaching is much more powerful than directing when you seek to change behavior. That’s why the business of coaching is growing exponentially and why every leader needs to take the time to learn how to do it well.
With collaboration quickly becoming the preferred approach among today’s employees, the most effective leaders are learning the power of focusing their teams on a desired outcome, providing them with the tools and training they need to succeed, getting out of their way so that they can do what they are capable of doing, and being open and honest in communicating.
ACTION ADVICE: Take a look at how your managers and leaders are interacting with their teams with an eye on evaluating their effectiveness in applying these coaching concepts. Consider offering training to improve their performance as coaches, and commit to making it a top priority. You’ll see better results, you’ll reduce the problems that are emerging as old style leadership meets new style collaboration, and you’ll build a stronger team for the future.