Coaching for Results

Known for his Dale Carnegie training expertise, Terry Siebert is writing to inspire leaders to reach their greatest potential. Leadership, today more than ever, may mean the difference between closing the doors or opening new markets. Every month, he'll post help with mindset, business tools and more. Read Full Bio

In the last 5 to 10 years of business-speak, the word and concept of coaching is one that has almost become overused. If you, like me, have been to many seminar events, it is very difficult to go for a full day without a reference to Vince Lombardi, Lou Holz, John Wooden or Pat Summit. In fact, all these individuals either have written books on their success in athletic coaching or have had books written about them. If you somehow have missed these more professional references, speakers will also refer to their daughter or son’s soccer or basketball coach. So, why all the emphasis on successful athletic coaching and relating that focus to the world of business? Maybe, because the principles are quite transferable. Here are five:

  1. Identify the Opportunity
    Rather than only looking at the concept from the perspective of corrective action, which is an important component of successful coaching, great coaches are superb at understanding the strengths/weaknesses of their team members and maximizing performance with opportunities that match a team member’s skill set.

    At one stage of my own career, I had reached a point of absolute burn-out and I decided to quit my job. When I approached my boss with my announcement, he convinced me to give him a little more time to offer me a different opportunity in the same company.

    That decision led me into a different career that has ultimately led to my current situation (which I love!). He had the insight to take my skill set and funnel it into an entirely different direction. The point is that he saw the opportunity — not me. Good coaches are very good at combining their human insight with even greater potential. They truly have the ability to see, then turn, human potential into performance!

  2. Establish Desired Results
    Once the opportunity is pinpointed, a clearly defined and measurable set of goals needs to be established. Sometimes this is a “moment in time” result. Usually, it takes place over a much longer period.

    The “moment in time” result might be a short-term, tight deadline that must be reached for critical business reasons. The longer term approach could be the implementation of a strategic plan over the course of several years.

    In either case, it is the superb coach that constantly acts as the “guide on the side,” not the doer or the reprimander. He/she gets continual input from the team member. One of my colleagues uses a philosophy in her role as a business coach: “People will support a world they help to create.”

  3. Provide Resources
    Opportunities and goals are fine. However, without providing the appropriate and necessary resources, all the goals in the world will not help. Have you ever been in a situation where you hit the wall or have been wrestling with a tough question? What if you went to your coach for help, and he/she said, “tough?”

    Superb coaches not only help lay out the plan and define the goals, they provide tools at every step of the way. If they themselves are not experts, they provide the necessary level of expertise to get the job done. That means hands-on coaching — not just reading the manual. Have you ever tried to teach someone how to drive a four-speed that had only driven an automatic? Without hands-on coaching, it would be very, very difficult.

  4. Implement
    Once the plan is in place and the necessary resources are lined up, implementation is the natural next step. In some cases, this is also the point where an amateur coach thinks the job is done and starts to take a hands-off attitude. If any hope of ultimate success with the agreed upon plan is going to happen, it is vital that the coach stay absolutely involved at this critical stage! No involvment equals no support. No support means that coaching has stopped.

  5. Follow Up
    Just like in the implementation step, scheduled, regular follow up will help move the plan along. It is a good idea to focus on what is right and always play to win. At the same time, if a team member is not hitting agreed upon targets, the next direction must be established and the process continues.

    There is an old saying that has a very strong connection to how people grow in their lives and their jobs: “You learn from your mistakes, but grow from your success.”

Superb coaches have what it takes to work on mistakes and weaknesses. However, these same coaches are keenly aware that real growth is always based on success and reaching goals. In your own coaching in the business, may your team members grow and flourish with your guidance and direction!