Good Coaches Produce Results
At the risk of sounding a tad snide here, one obvious difference between coaches in business and licensed therapists is that coaches have to produce results — or else. Even if they call themselves “coaches,” managers who don't deliver the goods will be out of a job in a heartbeat.
And with all due respect to the honorable profession of psychiatry, therapists do not have to realize any kind of quantifiable results to get paid for their services — and well paid at that. Patients can be in therapy for years — even decades — and still be struggling with the same issues.
In business settings, however, success today is the key to success tomorrow and to the tomorrow after that. Be you a fossil manager or cutting-edge coach, you've got to get results in the here and now to ensure both a future for you and those who work for you.
Coaching and mentoring practices focus on self-development. And, coaches and mentors, too, are expected to be in a perpetual state of learning. As a coach, you should always be “coachable” and open to new possibilities. The best and the brightest coaches and mentors don't ever put a cork in their thirst to acquire more knowledge and new skills.
Keep in mind that coaching is results-oriented from the get-go. It is not some namby-pamby version of management. Coaching in management demands high performance and asks that you deliver it by fully unleashing your human resources. But, you ask, aren't all managerial approaches committed to such strong performance and getting the best possible productivity out of employees?
The answer, of course, is “yes,” but it's the avenues to those positive outcomes that put coaching and mentoring on a much higher plane. For instance, you can travel long distances in your car via the back roads in small towns, twisting and turning, encountering endless stoplights, getting lost, and eventually running out of gas. Or you can take the interstate. You'll get to your destination more swiftly using the interstate. You'll use less of that overpriced petrol, too. Consider coaching and mentoring as the interstates of managing — fast and focused on reaching the final destination.
The Personal-Professional Life Connection
Coaching and mentoring are firmly committed to grappling with human behavior and understanding what motivates people, but they are decidedly not about getting employees' romantic lives in order, dealing with their eating disorders, forging close personal friendships, or any such intimate connections. Nonetheless, coaching and mentoring managerial methods fully accept that dissatisfaction in employees' personal lives directly impact their professional performances.
The managerial tools and techniques applied by coaches seek to increase employees' insight into what makes them tick. Coaching and mentoring methods endeavor to strengthen employees' personal wellness by making their job experiences more satisfying than they would otherwise be. Still, the coach or mentor always — without exception — operates within the parameters of the professional business environment. Performance on the job is job one.
Coaching Is Being There
There's no getting around the fact that you will be judged by the overall performance of your employees and the results that they ultimately deliver. In the end, the buck stops on your desk. Coaching, and the delegating of the genuine responsibilities that come with the territory, doesn't amount to distancing yourself from the final results. Sorry, but it's the results that count — even in the halls of coaching and mentoring. To maximize these results, there are a few key things you should always “be” in your job role and vis-à-vis your relationship with your employees:
Be aware. Be aware of precisely what you've got to accomplish and what you have to work with in both personnel and time constraints.
Be fair. Be fair with your employees at all times, never losing sight of the fact that things don't always run as planned and that individuals are unique personalities who work at different paces and sometimes in very distinct ways.
Be there. Be there for them in the work environment — from point A to point Z — of any office task or project.