The Truth about Managing and Coaching

Apr 30 10:57 2009 Alan Fairweather Print This Article

There are cross-over duties between a manager and a coach; but which role is going to be the most important in achieving your objectives, goals and outcomes, is it a manager or a coach?

Let me ask you a simple question – what is the difference between a manager and a coach?

I like to watch football on TV (or soccer,Guest Posting as my American friends call it) and for years, in the UK; we have always described the person in charge of the team as the ‘Manager.’
In the US and other parts of the world, the person running the team, be it football, baseball or basketball, is usually referred to as the ‘Coach’ However, I’ve noticed now, in the UK, that the football Manager is more likely to be called - The Coach.

So, what’s the difference? And how does it relate to your job as a manager?

When I ask participants on a seminar – “Tell me what a manager does, what are their duties?” They usually come up with responses such as – planning – cost control – resource allocation – analysing data – interviewing – solving problems - dealing with customers and other ‘technical’ duties.

When I then ask – “What are the duties of a coach?” I hear replies such as – leading –motivating – listening – encouraging – identifying training needs – communicating expectations – believing in their people – inspiring – winning and getting results.

There are cross-over duties between a manager and a coach; but let me ask you a question – which role is going to be the most important in achieving your objectives, goals and outcomes, is it a manager or a coach?

Now I know what you’re going to say – “My organisation and my boss want me to do all the ‘management’ things and that’s how I spend most of my day.” But always remember, at the end of the day, you will ultimately be judged on the success of your staff, rather than your ability to complete a report on time.
If you want a happy and motivated team who – don’t take time off work – don’t keep looking for other jobs - don’t give you too many problems and who generate results for your business.  You need to spend more time ‘Coaching’ and less time ‘Managing’

Here are 3 steps to becoming a successful coach

1. Spend quality time with each team member - You need to get to know each member of your team better and they need to get to know you. If you listen and show that you’re listening, you’ll gain a much better understanding of each individual and how they’re handling the job. It will also send the message that you care about them and show that you’re there to help with problems, both business and personal. You can communicate expectations, encourage and inspire them to do even better.

2. Give feedback and coach them - You need to regularly tell each of your team members when they’re doing well and when not so well.  When you see or hear one of your staff doing something you DO like – tell them about it! When you see or hear them doing something you DON’T like – tell them about it. You can then coach them on the job or identify training needs and agree a way forward. Most employees want to know how they are performing in their job; they want to know if they are doing it right or how they could do it better.

3. Believe in each individual - You need to constantly demonstrate to each team member that you trust and believe in them, by what you say, your tone of voice and your body language.
They will very quickly sense if you don't trust them to carry out their job and they'll act accordingly.
If you believe that your people are not to be trusted to do their job; that they’ll turn up late and go home early, then that is exactly what they'll do.
On the other hand, if you believe that your people will do their job well, that they can be trusted to make decisions that are good for the business and that they'll give you a fair day's work, then it is more likely this is what you'll get.

So there you have it; successful managers know that to get the best out of their people they need to spend less tine ‘Managing ‘ and more time ‘Coaching’.

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About Article Author

Alan Fairweather
Alan Fairweather

Alan Fairweather, 'The Motivation Doctor,'
International Business Speaker, Author and Sales Growth
For the past fifteen years, he's been turning
'adequate' managers, sales and customer service people into
consistent top performers.

He is the author of - 'How to be a Motivational Manager'
A down-to-earth guide for managers and team leaders.
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