Coaching is a Contact Sport

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:36 pm

The most effective business leaders are in the business of creating effective leaders. The only way any business differentiates itself is through its people. After all, innovation is born from intellect.
Considering the vast array of competitive offerings as well as operational innovations, it’s clear to see that true competitive advantage and differentiation comes from people.
Global competition forces everyone to be as efficient, cost-effective and as innovative as possible. Companies that excel at developing people and harvesting the intellectual fruits of their teams will dominate their competition. Companies that are not as successful at developing people and harvesting the intellectual capital on their teams will suffer the consequences. They will experience ever-increasing downward pressure on gross margins and pre-tax earnings.
Developing talent is undoubtedly a contact sport. Spotting the talent comes first, developing the talent never ends. In fact, developing talent is a deliberate and thoughtful act of creating learning opportunities which includes participation in formal business education, action learning and countless collaborative learning activities. The development of talent is not something you can put on auto pilot, although many businesses and business leaders do.
Assuming you’ve got the right people on your team, develop them by appealing at the highest level of thinking possible. Teach your employees how your company makes money and loses money. Then, translate this knowledge into helping your employees understand how their actions, both positively and/or negatively, affect their own personal earnings performance (incentive compensation included), company benefits and overall competitiveness in the
marketplace with which you compete.
Characteristics of
effective leadership
If you buy into the notion that the most effective business leaders are in the business of developing the leadership skills in others, then let’s look at some of the characteristics that are commonly found among effective leaders.
The effective leader…
1. Has a clear definition of success for the company and/or department and is able to assist individuals in establishing appropriate goals/objectives and key performance measures.
2. Is effective at motivating and guiding others towards achieving company, department and individual goals and objectives.
3. Is effective at creating an environment in which there is a deep respect for the individual, and is eager to maximize the use of differing styles, backgrounds and experiences to achieve corporate and/or department goals/objectives.
4. Is focused on, and very effective at, consistently achieving the organization’s desired results.
5. Empowers others and creates an environment that is characterized by creativity and innovation.
6. Is effective at providing others with meaningful feedback, encouragement and learning opportunities, preparing teammates for greater future contributions.
7. Is effective at managing across internal boundaries with the purpose of creating highly effective teamwork and communications.
8. Is affective at quickly identifying problems, obstacles and opportunities addressing them with the appropriate sense of urgency.

In the spirit of continuous improvement, your assignment is to evaluate your demonstrated effectiveness on a scale from 1 to 10 (1 is the lowest, and 10 is the highest) according to each of the above characteristics.
Secondly, identify the area of greatest strength according to each of the above characteristics (of course we need to look at the positive side).
Finally, identify the area in need of the most improvement according to each of the above characteristics.
Once you have completed this exercise for yourself, if you are really bold and want the best feedback possible, ask your entire leadership team to respond to these questions for each other. I guarantee this to be an enlightening exercise and a catalyst for change in areas where change is needed.
At times, it is helpful to have someone from outside of the organization to facilitate this discussion drawing insights and ensuring you get the maximize benefit from this leadership development exercise.

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