Do you coach?
Ask any self respecting supervisor or manager this question and he/she would most likely say YES. If you ask me that same question, my honest answer would be not as often as I should. My guess is a lot of people do not coach as much or as often as they should and my writing this article is as much a message to myself to take up more coaching as it is a message to those who continue to read my blogs to do the same.
We make the mistake of thinking that we coach because we often associate coaching to "telling." When we tell people how to do their job we call it coaching. When we tell people to shape up or ship out, we call it coaching. If we look deeply into this role we should know that playing coach to our team members involves a lot more than "telling".
Let's do that then. Let's take a deeper look at coaching and see what we might be missing and make appropriate adjustments. Let's start with this question: what do coaches do? The perfect example of how coaches work is to look at the origin of this term - the sports coaches.
Coaches' main goal is to help their players succeed and the measure of their success is the ability of their players to win at most or improve personal performance records at the very least.
How do we compare? Do we see ourselves more as material to our players success or do we see them as material to our own success? That's what spells the difference between a coach and a "non-coach."
Great coaches feel a great sense of defeat when their players do not win, they question their own coaching skills hence, they try very hard to make sure that their players are competitive and have a good shot at winning.
How do we compare? How much effort do we make to ensure that our own players are competitive and ready to win? How much time do we put in to training? We all know very well that coaches put in a lot.
In order to win, coaches look at competition for benchmark of good performance and set goals with the players that are raised above these benchmarks.
How do we compare? Do we know a good standard when we see one?
They set strategies to get the players to play their best with constant monitoring of their personal performance indicators. If we talk about basketball, we are talking about shooting accuracy, dribbling, passing, assisting and other pertinent performance indicators.
How do we compare? How well do we monitor our players' performance? Have we identified performance indicators? Have we established a system for monitoring and feedback? Do our players know how well they are performing at a given time? This is critical to success.
A good coach does not only show concern over a bad performance by telling players off for performing badly, they look behind the bad performance and find out what might be causing it and look for possible solutions to help the player overcome what is causing the bad performance.
How do we compare? When we see our players performing badly do we bother to ask? Do we bother to investigate and find a solution or do we just judge our player as a bad player? Only poor coaches do that.
A good coach is quick to point out a great performance because they want the player to repeat it. They don't just throw in "good work!" remarks, they specify what it is.
How do we compare? How well do we praise good performance? Do we throw in the usual "good work!" remark? A good coach knows that "good work!" is like saying "good dog!" that's why they go further by specifying what the good work is all about.
Great coaches do not wait until after the game to give feedback. They call for a time out and call players in when there are concerns and they cheer and celebrate at the sidelines when players perform a feat.
How do we compare? Do we wait 'till the performance appraisal to give feedback about performance? How well do we cheer for our players when they show great performance?
Although players undergo spartan-like training, a coach is hardly military. There's no "obey first before you complain." A great coach listens to ideas and concerns and help players work out issues regarding the team or their game. A coach who cannot recognize a good suggestion is bound to fail.
How do we compare? How much interest do we give to our players ideas, feelings and concerns? Do we remember that we are dealing with people? People, with minds and feelings of their own. When we look at our players as mere statistics or tools to the achievement of our goals, then we stop being coaches.
It's easy to call oneself a coach but to be a great coach requires hard work and training, and not just training but discipline, the discipline to become better at what they do because the success of their players depend on their ability to become better coaches. They analize their own performance as coaches by analizing how well their players are responding to them. The performance of their team is the reflection of their own coaching capability. Great team equals great coach, poor team equals poor coach.
How do we compare?