Successful coaches draw amazing performances out of their players and teams via a balance of individual and overall connections. Sales managers can learn to run the same plays. Chief Learning Officer magazine shared the research findings from Frank Mulhern, associate dean of research at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Mulhern synthesized his findings into a coherent set of conclusions which he called the six pragmatic dimensions of successful coaching. His work ties in nicely to the work that EcSELL Institute has been doing on leadership development and defining the role of the sales coach, and the Sales Performance Equation.
Read the full article "Athletic Coaching Practices Can Apply to Management, Leadership Development"
Here are the highlights from the article on leadership development for executive coaching.
Knowing the Whole Person
Really good coaches don’t limit their relationship with their players to the athletic realm. They know the entire life and the family and all kinds of other personal aspects about their players. Obviously there are some issues about probing too much into people’s personal lives, but to some extent there are contributions to management from this idea that managers who care basically understand and enrich the person’s entire life [and] don’t just silo one’s relationship to work or coaching to athletics.
Promoting a Culture of Respect
That broadens into the whole social aspect; not just the pair — the coach and the player or the manager and the employee — but really the whole relationship among all of the people and a lack of tolerance of any kind of disrespect.
Coaches coach a whole team, but they really coach individuals one-on-one. In management that is a tough one because a lot of management tries to come up with protocols for a variety of reasons including legal protection and standardization across different departments, but standardization might limit individual attention.
Communication in coaching is negative — here’s what you did wrong. And so the good coaches are the good communicators who know how to convey that information in a way that’s not going to leave a bad feeling.
Pride and a Sense of Belonging
Coaches make their players proud of the team and they really put a great deal of emphasis on that because they know that leads to better performance. That sense of people being proud and really feeling like they belong to something positive has a real upside for business if they can foster that.
Responsiveness to Needs
The coach is responsible to the players; it’s really a two-way thing. It falls in line with the so-called servant leader idea that’s been around for quite a while, that good leaders actually serve the people who work for them.
Jennifer Rosenzweig, research director of The Forum, a nonprofit research firm affiliated with Northwestern University, said this research applies broadly to how leaders work with employees. “It reinforces the idea that in order for a business to really maximize their success [it has to] pay attention to its culture and its leadership practices,” she said. Companies need to “view their employees not as simply a pair of hands that is there to fulfill the tactics of the business or to somehow be [advocates for] the brand but instead [as] whole individual human beings who bring a lot of talent. Part of leaders’ responsibility is to identify that talent and then to find ways [for] the organization to allow that talent to really flourish and grow. Businesses that neglect their employees are in essence neglecting opportunity in their bottom line."