Lead a Staff Through the Eyes of a Coach
I was blessed to have had the opportunity to play multiple sports during my youth. The impact my various coaches had on my development was profound. I always knew playing sports well included mental and physical discipline. I was fortunate that my teams were typically very good, and I was able to participate on all-star teams. That experience as a player led me to becoming a football referee, baseball umpire and basketball official.
I used that experience to eventually coach various sports, but baseball most of all. I say this because in the last year, several of my former players have contacted me through Facebook, LinkedIn and other means. They were kind, as they said I impacted their life in some way. It is worthy to note that I have always tried to lead my work staff through the eyes of a coach.
In an Odyssey article that reflects on the impact a coach has on one’s life, a reference is made to the late Dr. Billy Graham who once stated, “One coach will impact more young people in a year than the average person does in a lifetime.” For many with broken homes, the only stability in one’s life is to see their coach on a consistent basis. Besides sports, a coach prepares their players about life and how to deal with the various aspects of it, both good and bad. The elements taught on the field can and are applied to work situations every day, such as communication and teamwork.
The Center for Management and Organization Effectiveness (CMOE) believes leadership and coaching skills are important tools in business today. A true leader is someone who is willing to empower his or her employees to identify and develop their talents plus hold them accountable for growth. Leaders can accomplish this by learning how to coach their employees. CMOE believes that coaching employees involves communicating with them, engaging and motivating them, solving problems creatively, recognizing people, promoting a positive work environment, removing traditional barriers to performance and emphasizing individual and team achievements. The key is having leaders who have a coaching style of management.
Various reasons managers should spend more time on coaching, according to a Harvard Business Review article, is that they see coaching as an essential tool for achieving business goals, they are curious as to how things are going and how to solve problems, they are interested in establishing connections and they are interested in making people succeed through coaching. Managers that employ coaching as their basic principle understand personal expertise is developed and improved over time by coaching others. It isn’t always about telling someone what to do. It is about having conversations and sharing ideas that can stimulate positive individual results leading to team success.
Managers and leaders are critical to the success of a business and so are effective coaching skills, as noted in a Biz Library article. Consistent coaching helps with employee onboarding and retention, performance improvement, skill improvement and knowledge transfer. Coaching others reinforces and transfers learning. The best coaches understand there are five levels of employee performance, which are novices, doers, performers, masters and experts. According to Biz Library, seven tips for coaching employees include ask guiding questions, recognize what’s going well, listen and empower, understand their perspective, talk about next steps, coach in the moment and commit to continuous learning. It is important that you boost your employee’s emotional intelligence in a way to build relationships and improve performance.
In a Gallup article that focuses on why managers should be like coaches and not bosses, good coaches provide feedback when needed and space when you do not need it. Coaches spend time with you and recognize achievements however small. They build a relationship with you that allows for tough conversations under pressure. According to Gallup, employees who receive daily feedback from their manager are three times more likely to be engaged than those receiving feedback once a year or less. Staff coaching enables a manager to discover what their employees think, what their employees need to be successful and what accountability features their employees must have to be successful. Managers can inspire if they have ongoing strength-based, engagement focused and performance-oriented conversations.
If you lead your staff through the eyes of a coach, you will have greater empathy. Place yourself in your employee’s shoes. If an employee knows you are interested in their development on the job, they should perform in a more effective manner. The end goal is to improve the performance of each individual leading to organizational effectiveness. My former coaches made a tremendous impact on me, and I typically relate in a more positive way to those that communicate with me in a coaching like manner. If you employ coaching tips in your management style, it will improve your staff leadership performance over time.
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at email@example.com or 317-224-1029.