Leadership Notes #0917

Coaching a Key Leadership Skillbaseball 

Just about all the conversation I have with clients is about improving performance, specifically around the use of process to improve business outcomes. However I can’t see everyone every week so I thought I could enhance those discussions by providing a weekly tip to help you keep moving things forward. At this stage I will run it for 6 weeks and see how much interest there is. If you think they help we will keep it going. Lets start with why coaching is so important?

Coaching – A Key Leadership Skill

At one time leaders were encouraged to believe they could achieve results by controlling the performance of others. They were encouraged to believe that if they could write enough policies, make enough rules, invoke enough rewards (and punishments), solve everything for everyone, practice rigorous oversight and critically appraise performance, they might just plan, organise and direct people up to a “satisfactory performance”.


These days no one really believes a satisfactory performance is good enough. Satisfactory performance is built on the notions of “average” and “reasonable limits”. In the now and forever world of immediacy and increasing national and global competition, if leaders accept the goal of satisfactory performance, they inevitably accept a loss of competitiveness, a decline in market share, stagnant capital growth and decreased profitability.

Today, Sustained Superior Performance is in the hands of the individual not the manager. Managers just don’t have the time to ‘manage’ their staff like in previous times. Just about everyone in your workplace has control over how much energy they will put into a task and most people have a lot of control over which tasks they will do and how much time they will spend doing them. How this discretionary energy and time is used marks the difference between the committed and the uncommitted. Its the difference between those that clock watch and those that are totally engaged. It is commitment that has the biggest influence on performance.

So how do you create that culture of commitment?
Here is the four things we know exist in teams that are fully committed:

  1. They are clear about their core values and performance goals
  2. They have influence over what they do
  3. They have the competence to perform the jobs they are expected of them
  4. They are appreciated for their performance

Consider for a moment – Could you say these 4 things exist within the team you lead? Which ones might need a little or a lot of work. When I share these four common traits of committed teams, few leaders express surprise. However, like in most things in life, the challenge is not in the knowing, its in the doing.

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So what to do?
The first thing I would challenge you to consider is the various ‘roles’ you play as a leader. These roles include:

  • Manager –  Provides the employee information about what needs to be done
  • Mentor – Provides the how things need to be done
  • Instructor – Provides both the how and the what
Then there is the Coaching role – this role provides neither the what or the how, but guides the team members to decide both the what and the how based on the values, experience and goals of the individual and the organisation.

Why is coaching so important?
It is in fact the coaching role that leads to lasting sustainable change and superior performance, because the change comes from within the person you are coaching, they own it. When effective coaching occurs the person being coached becomes committed to the cause, they are self motivated and will follow the process. The coaching role is just so effective at creating sustainable superior performance yet it is least understood and applied by leaders.

Over the next 6 weeks we will explore what it takes to develop Sustainable Superior Performance through effective coaching.

Next weeks Topic – Establishing and maintaining a relationship of trust

If you would like to discuss anything in todays tip please just give us a call meanwhile keep up the great work

(Feel free to share with anyone who might benefit)

Mark McNamee
Ph – +61(0)429 455 069
Email mark@marellen.com
Web www.marellen.com

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