If you are the sensitive sort, particularly about this topic, you may just want to skip this post, I’m a little angry.
After writing, Who Benefits Most From Coaching, I was deluged with emails and comments on various forums. All had the same basic theme: “The managers in my company don’t seem to care about coaching.” Or, “It is non existent in my company, how do I get coaching when managers don’t want to coach?”
I was surprised and disappointed by the number of sales people expressing those sentiments.
I don’t understand “managers” who don’t view coaching as a critical element of their jobs. It makes me wonder what they think their job is—-an administrator, a report writer? Technology can solve that problem, so what else is there left for the manager to do?
I’m pretty hard nosed about the role of leaders and managers in the organization. The sole reason for management to exist is to maximize the performance of the organization and each individual in the organization. There is no other reason for managers.
Managers maximize performance through a number of vehicles–they put in place the right strategies, processes, and programs. They make sure they have the right people and that those people have the capabilities to perform in their jobs. They make sure they get their people the resources to perform in their jobs. They develop their organizations and each individual in the organization to achieve their full potential—not just this year, but next year and the following year and the ……
Everything is focused on maximizing the performance of the organization and individuals that make up the organization.
The way managers “make their numbers,” is through their people. It’s impossible to make your numbers otherwise! Do the math, it’s fairly simple. Look at the number of deals a sales person has to close to make their goal. Multiply that by the number of people you have. Even the “superman” manager can’t do the job!
So managers have to get things done through their people. They have to maximize the performance and contribution of everyone in their team. The key means through which the manager achieves this is to make sure their people have the right skills, to continue to sharpen their ability to execute using those skills, and to continue to learn, improve and grow. It’s also about identifying bad habits and practices, helping people understand what’s wrong, and helping them to correct these. All of this is what coaching is all about.
So when I hear about managers who don’t want to coach, who don’t have the time to coach, my reaction is, “So you don’t want to do your job, you aren’t committed to maximizing the performance of your team!” (Quietly, I’m also thinking, “I’m sure we can find someone who does want to do the job.”)
Stated differently, at any level, coaching is the number one priority of the leader. If they are committed to achieving the organization’s goals, they need to make sure each person is performing at the highest levels. (As a side note, several readers commented on their military experience in which training and constant coaching are embedded into what people at all levels do.)
Now in fairness, many new managers don’t know it’s their job to coach. That’s the responsibility of their manager–all the way up the food chain. Executives need to coach their subordinates, those executives need to coach the managers reporting to them, and so on. Often, in coaching other managers the coaching is on coaching–that is improving the skills and effectiveness of managers in coaching their own people.
If you don’t want to coach, then you don’t want to be a manager or leader. If you don’t have the time to coach or are doing it ineffectively, then you aren’t doing your job.