Who is Coaching Your Team?
This is a question that every leader of a midsize company should be asking. How are you optimizing performance and ensuring focus? This is even more crucial for your customer facing teams, such as sales, customer service, and marketing.
To use a sports analogy, you are the owner and or general manager, but who is on the field and in the clubhouse leading the team?
Getting Out of the Weeds
A common reality for most midsize companies is that leaders are by necessity also functional managers. Like any member of the team, they get swept away frequently and find themselves in the weeds.
The challenge becomes keeping the foot on the accelerator while being pulled in numerous directions. Gaps begin to grow and performance suffers.
Teams need coaches and here are 7 reasons why:
- Prioritization: We live in an information age. We are constantly being bombarded by data. For peak performance, we need to filter that information and prioritize. It is critical to segregate the needle moving activities from that which is just busy work. When your head is down and you are just pushing forward it is hard to make that delineation. Another pair of eyes is invaluable.
- Focus: Many people are like squirrels in search of their next nut. Zigging and zagging not really getting anywhere. Having someone to keep them on the right path is vital. It is just so tempting to go chase something, the hard work is to remain steady and resolute. Having someone alongside them to keep them focused is essential.
- Motivation: Work is hard, tiring, and at times frustrating. A coach breaks things down into milestones allowing progress to be seen and felt. They push and support and help to maintain the needed drive. They bar the door so complacency cannot enter.
- Accountability: Personal accountability is key. Everyone struggles at times to do what they intend to do or say they will. It is helpful to have a mechanism in place to ensure that people are held to their commitments and are responsible for their deliverables.
- Improvement: Habit energy is incredibly strong. Unchecked, bad habits form and solidify making them much harder to break. Having someone who can be a mirror, reflecting back those habits in their early stages, and helping the individual determine steps that can be taken to break them down is key to driving optimum performance.
- Validation: At the end of the day, we all want the same thing. To be heard, cared for, valued, and respected. Busy leaders who are also functional managers can fail to find the time to put forth the effort to validate their team members. That lack of affirmation or inspiration can be demoralizing and deflating.
- Retention: Good players want to play for a well coached team. When individuals know they have the support and are appropriately pushed and challenged, they feel more fulfilled. Further, well coached people perform better and performance is typically rewarded, which also leads to higher retention rates.
Creating High Performance Teams
These 7 reasons are interrelated. They are all indicative of a high performing team. I have laid out the case as to the value of making sure that at the very least your client facing teams are being coached. What I have not answered is how.
Here are 3 suggestions:
- Delegate some of your functional duties to create time and space so you can actively coach your key client facing teams.
- Identify someone else in your organization that could fill the role of the coach.
- Hire a coach. If you can absorb a fulltime coach into your current organization that would be optimal. However, for many, that is not possible. So lean on the services of an external coach who can work virtually with the team members and report back to you. If you find someone with a good process and who fits well with the organization, the ROI can be huge.
Please share your thoughts and questions in the comment section below. I will do my best to respond to each one. I would also be happy to discuss in more detail this concept, please feel free to reach out to schedule a time to talk.
Thanks for reading.
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Elliot Begoun is the Principal Consultant of The Intertwine Group, LLC.
He works with companies to Deliver Tools that Enable Growth
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Leaders in mid-size organisations so often burn out because they try and do everything, which is not a sustainable long-term strategy. The alternative is to simply focus on the business as that is everyone’s bread and butter, and the people must take care of themselves. This leads to low morale, low motivation, and high turnover, which once again means they have more work to do to recruit and train new staff members.
I think your article makes it clear why coaches are important, even in smaller organisations, and provide viable options. I hope many leaders in medium-sized organisations read this!
Thank you and I agree. Companies invest a lot in technology and people, but often fail to prioritize the need to work to optimize performance and retention. Thanks for your input.
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