There is a subtle yet significant difference in the mindset of coaches – athletic coaches to be specific – versus managers.
Coaches take responsibility for the performance of their athletes.
That doesn’t mean coaches can control performance. Or that athletes shouldn’t take responsibility. It means that coaches understand they can and should have a significant impact on performance.
In business, managers often assume that employees – once hired and trained – will perform as they should. Yet it doesn’t take much reflection to realize this is a pretty wishful assumption.
Coaches, on the other hand, see it as a critical part of their responsibility to do what they can to elicit the best performance from their people. And they’re constantly thinking about how to do it.
When people aren’t performing up to expectations, it’s easy to say they just aren’t good enough or don’t have the right attitude. Maybe that’s true. Or maybe you haven’t done everything you can do to elevate their performance. Like continually reinforcing a clear sense of purpose. Maintaining focus on goals and expectations. Ensuring they have the skills, resources and authority to perform at their best. Finding creative ways to inspire them. Providing timely feedback and helpful guidance. Reinforcing them for doing the right things right, and holding them constructively accountable for not doing the right things right. And making sure they know you respect them, trust them, and care about them as individuals.
Elevating your people’s performance is one of the great challenges of management. Take responsibility. Ask yourself this: Am I simply giving orders or am I truly enhancing performance?
What’s your answer, Coach? And what are you going to do about it?
Make it happen.
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