Whenever I am told someone is uncoachable, I always wonder who the coach was. Not to disparage any coaches out there but there are a never ending number of avenues available when it comes to coaching people up for success. Patience, fortitude and a willingness to know who you are coaching up is key.
A failure to coach is usually connected to a “my way or the highway” coaching approach that is limiting to say the least. Fact is, the “my way” approach is now about the coach and not the person being coached. The “my way” approach is lazy. Your way offers a high risk – low reward scenario. Its like winning the lottery once and hoping the exact same numbers will come up again. The odds of that occurring are 1 in 20,358,520. It is not going to happen so you better look at a different combination of numbers…you had better look to a different approach to connecting. That is coaching!
Now, I know coaching people up offers a greater rate of success but hoping the same plan works each and every time sets one up for inevitable failure. Reason being, when you factor in the human spirit, the perpetual motion attached to such an energy requires an ability to adapt. One must be agile.
One must be willing to establish a buy in with each team member and the team member must establish a buy in with the coach. The ebb and flow between a coach and the team is constant.
Coaching isn’t a straight line from point A to point B experience. It’s a meandering, take 2 steps forward, 1 step to the left, 2 back to the right and 3 forward dance. It’s imperfect, it’s fluid and it’s personal.
The silo approach to inter action is no longer of value. Contribution is key. Overlap and inter-play is crucial to a teams success. The transparent sharing of the strat
egic where, what, who, where and why creates an ownership that makes
it easy to justify spending over 2000 hours per year at work.
The fact of the matter is times have changed. The “I tell you to jump and you ask how high” approach to leadership and coaching has fallen to the wayside.
Any coach worth his or her salt, in whatever realm, be it in business, a not for profit agency, leading an elite athletic team or perhaps a house league squad, must be agile, willing to adapt and proud to serve.
Robert K. Greenleaf wrote that a servant leader “begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions.”
He emphasized that servant leaders have five important qualities:
they are open to listening to others, and to their own intuition;
they know when to withdraw and refresh themselves;
they are able to persuade rather than just coerce;
they accept their followers’ imperfections and have empathy for them;
they can conceptualize a clear vision and follow it one step at a time.
Sounds like the servant leader is a fairly progressive coach. Someone who would stand ahead of the coaching curve today. So, its amazing to learn that he wrote it over 50 years ago and that it stands the test of time.
What I love about the list of important qualities is that they are instrumental in the greater search for fulfillment. Human interaction, the ability to connect, communicate, collaborate and conquer is part of our DNA! Our survival hinges on it. As technological advances arrive and as companies morph and mold in a bid to find success, the importance of the human element remains constant. As sure as the sun rises and sets, there is always an opportunity to coach up. A coach worth his or her salt looks relishes the chance to coach no matter the circumstances.
A great coach finds a way!
Coaching and leadership is all about finding a way. To serve others.
Ken Evraire is the owner | principal of TECTONIC TLC Team Lead Coach.
He is a quintessential team player who loves coaching, team building and talking leadership! He is grateful for the opportunity to work with a roster of fantastic clients ranging from the government sector, not for profit agencies, start ups, Fortune 500 companies and elite sports teams.
He is father to 3 precocious children, has the best ex-wife in the world, is a former professional football player that has since donated his brain. He has run 3x marathons (Honolulu 2x + Barcelona), done stand up comedy and believes the old school coach was wrong…there is indeed an “i” in Team!
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