The Best Managers are Coaches - Fact!
We’ve been struck lately by the difference between managers and coaches, and how coaching may well be more impactful than management alone.
In many companies, the route to management is based on excelling in your current role. So the top salesperson gets to become Sales Director, and the best credit controller gets to become Head of Credit Control. In neither case is the promotion always based on an ability to lead, manage or develop a team to optimal performance.
When promoted to manager, individuals often continue doing what they previously did – with little or no skill brought to the task of managing a team. Imagine how different it would be if super-successful sports teams were never coached. Pretty unimaginable. The fact is that an ambitious organisation can only succeed when leaders invest time, intention and money into coaching people to succeed.
Most of the truly great sports managers are also magnificent coaches, who can give the team the advice, the motivation and the technical skills to excel at what they do. In other words, the role of the manager is to get the most out of the team, making sure that each and every member is performing better with the passing of each season.
So what do we learn from this – and how can we ensure our managers and leaders make a vital contribution to our company performance management?
Individual coaching is just as important as collective. With successful teams, some of the coaching is collective, i.e. the team is coached to adopt certain patterns of play and certain recurring on-field strategies. But equally, a great coach has the ability to zone in on a particular player who may be under-performing or not living up to his or her potential.
It’s essential for managers, therefore, to know when the collective needs to be improved, and when to focus on the efforts of individuals within the team. A company performance management platform like Frankli can make this relatively seamless, allowing the manager to engage equally easily with the group or with a solo team member.
Great coaches build year on year. If you look at the trajectory of winning teams, it’s a rare occurrence that a team suddenly ‘bursts out of nowhere’. Much more typically, success is built season-on-season, with a team growing over two or three seasons to a point where it’s top of the league.
The world of work calls this continuous professional development, and it’s only by constantly encouraging and enabling people to be that little bit better, that lasting success is achieved.
Even winning teams lose occasionally. We’ve written many times about the power of building a culture where successes are celebrated, and the individuals behind those successes are acknowledged and rewarded. But what if a team or an individual team member fails in a key project? We believe failure represents a key learning moment.
In its own way, it’s as important as success as it provides the opportunity to regroup, re-calibrate, and re-examine what the team or the individual needs to do to succeed the next time. The bottom line is that failures should never be ignored or swept under the carpet, but should be discussed honestly and openly, and without recrimination. Just like a great golfer sinking a putt after a disastrous double-bogey, it’s all about what happens next.
Your rivals are also improving. They say it’s a lot harder to stay on top of the mountain than to get there in the first place. There are a number of reasons for this, including the mental fatigue that can often come with the effort of winning.
But maybe the biggest reason is that for every winning team, there are three or four more below you who are doubling down on their efforts and resolving to knock you off your perch. The lesson is that you’re only as good as your last season, and what won for you last year may not be enough next year. This is why so many successful organisations utilise a company performance management platform to ensure that success is a continuous journey – and not a destination.
The bottom line is that investing in managers to turn them into successful coaches is one of the savviest things your company can do. And with a successful company performance management platform behind you, it’s simply never been easier!
For further information on how Frankli can help you to focus more on coaching, why not book a demo today?