Many of us have played sports and/or have a favorite team to watch. All professional teams and most successful athletes have a Coach. The same principles that guide a sports team can guide your team to achieve massive results.
1. Coaching presumes that we have talent and buy-in as pre-requisites for moving forward. If we are lacking in one or both, immediate corrective action is needed (and is the subject for another discussion). The Coach is involved in drafting (recruiting, selecting, etc.) the “players” and directing strategy formulation and game-day execution. The Coach and the players have common goals (for example: win the next game, make the playoffs, win the championship, etc) that drive them to work together.
2. Coaching helps people get what they want. Remember the “common goals” above. What will they be more motivated to work for: what they want or what someone else tells them they should have? Again, we’re presuming that we have assembled a group of like-minded individuals who want to work together to achieve more as a group than they could on their own. By the way, the exercise of identifying or discerning those goals is a great team-building activity.
3. Coaching increases knowledge and proficiency. As human beings, we learn by making mistakes and being willing to apply the lesson. As legendary Coach Vince Lombardi said: “Failure is not getting knocked down, failure is not getting back up!” The Coach inspires and drives the team to constantly learn and improve. As with all living things in nature, we are either growing or dying. Coaching insists that we continue to grow. Do you remember the toughest teacher you had in grade school? This was the one that gave the most homework, the toughest tests, graded on the strictest scale. Now, reflect on how much you learned.
4. Coaching fosters accountability, both for the team and the individuals. Accountability means there are rules (in the absence of them, people make up their own!) and clearly-defined expectations. We also know that human beings are motivated by the desire to pursue rewards or avoid consequences. The Coach learns which style works for the team members and applies the appropriate encouragement. Accountability means that we do what we say we will do and our commitment to that principle pays dividends on a regular basis.
5. Coaching magnifies and accelerates results. With direction, encouragement, motivation, and persistence, the team accomplishes more (and does so sooner) than just “winging it”. All of us have a certain level of drive, ambition, and determination. Eventually, we might figure it all out. Coaching helps us to bridge the gap between that “base” level and our true potential, and it happens quicker.
On October 20, ActionCOACH Mark Raciappa will expand on this at Education Day. Plan to come and hear “the rest of the story”, specifically as it applies to coaching your team on customer service.