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April 9, 2015

The Call to Coach

Ian's Morning Musing image “Leaders do the right thing and managers do things right.”

I used this Warren Bennis observation as the primary theme in an academic paper I wrote many years ago. Even then, some naysayers inside organizations chose to interpret an underlying message that managers had become second-class citizens.

Our last presentation on “followership” reminded me of this. I can vividly recall a former COO of mine remarking on the importance of language to describe teams when he observed that managers often used the word “subordinates,” whereas leaders were using the word “partners.”

It is ridiculous to even suggest that leaders don’t do things right and managers don’t do the right things. We all know that successful executives need elements of both.

In my experience, the discussion of managers versus leaders most often arises during 9-box talent discussions. Michael Couch reminded us of the model at our February event, and even though generalizations are always dangerous, one can argue that managers tend to be more transactionally -focused. They tend to see what most immediately needs to get done – where structure and control are paramount. Chaos would not be his/her friend.

Managers engage process to make sure that work is completed. I believe they engage the head, whereas leaders engage the heart – and the bridge between managers and leaders is coaching. Superior results are driven by connecting to the head AND to the heart.

Coaching is the topic of our next event and it is a critical skill in our tool kit. In a world where we seem to be so time-starved, it is much easier to simply direct traffic and dictate what needs to get done. I’ve seen changes in CEOs who, at one point, would coach for results. But, as they clambered up the hierarchy and had more and more demands placed upon them, they would run out of time coaxing people to the desired outcomes. Unfortunately, short-term expediency won out. Coaching takes time and patience, and it is so easy to slip back into “command and control,” even if one’s natural disposition and leadership style opposes that approach.

So how can we make coaching a habit? From an HR standpoint, I’m sure we all believe what CEO Bob Nardelli once said: “I absolutely believe that people, UNLESS COACHED, never reach their maximum capabilities.”

Think how much unfulfilled potential there is in organizations because coaching is not a habit. If you want to enhance your coaching proficiency, join us for an inspiring morning on April 15th, with Michael Bungay Stanier, Canada’s First Coach of the Year and a Rhodes Scholar.

– Ian Hendry, president of the Strategic Capability Network

Program details and registration here
Michael Bungay Stanier gives an overview of next week’s session in our last blog post. Watch the video

What does good coaching look like to you?
What about poor coaching?
Join the conversation on LinkedIn here


Filed under: Uncategorized

Ian's Morning Musing image “Leaders do the right thing and managers do things right.”

I used this Warren Bennis observation as the primary theme in an academic paper I wrote many years ago. Even then, some naysayers inside organizations chose to interpret an underlying message that managers had become second-class citizens.

Our last presentation on “followership” reminded me of this. I can vividly recall a former COO of mine remarking on the importance of language to describe teams when he observed that managers often used the word “subordinates,” whereas leaders were using the word “partners.”

It is ridiculous to even suggest that leaders don’t do things right and managers don’t do the right things. We all know that successful executives need elements of both.

In my experience, the discussion of managers versus leaders most often arises during 9-box talent discussions. Michael Couch reminded us of the model at our February event, and even though generalizations are always dangerous, one can argue that managers tend to be more transactionally -focused. They tend to see what most immediately needs to get done – where structure and control are paramount. Chaos would not be his/her friend.

Managers engage process to make sure that work is completed. I believe they engage the head, whereas leaders engage the heart – and the bridge between managers and leaders is coaching. Superior results are driven by connecting to the head AND to the heart.

Coaching is the topic of our next event and it is a critical skill in our tool kit. In a world where we seem to be so time-starved, it is much easier to simply direct traffic and dictate what needs to get done. I’ve seen changes in CEOs who, at one point, would coach for results. But, as they clambered up the hierarchy and had more and more demands placed upon them, they would run out of time coaxing people to the desired outcomes. Unfortunately, short-term expediency won out. Coaching takes time and patience, and it is so easy to slip back into “command and control,” even if one’s natural disposition and leadership style opposes that approach.

So how can we make coaching a habit? From an HR standpoint, I’m sure we all believe what CEO Bob Nardelli once said: “I absolutely believe that people, UNLESS COACHED, never reach their maximum capabilities.”

Think how much unfulfilled potential there is in organizations because coaching is not a habit. If you want to enhance your coaching proficiency, join us for an inspiring morning on April 15th, with Michael Bungay Stanier, Canada’s First Coach of the Year and a Rhodes Scholar.

– Ian Hendry, president of the Strategic Capability Network

Program details and registration here
Michael Bungay Stanier gives an overview of next week’s session in our last blog post. Watch the video

What does good coaching look like to you?
What about poor coaching?
Join the conversation on LinkedIn here


Filed under: Uncategorized
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