I work with a lot of sales teams and business development teams. Some perform well. Some perform not-so-well.
I watch a lot of athletic events. Some teams win, and win, and win. Some teams lose more than they win.
Winning teams and winning organizations have one thing in common: their leader is usually a great coach.
Here are five things great coaches understand:
1. Talent develops when a relationship is present.
When I hear coaches or managers lament that people have given up on them or that people don't buy in, I ask them what they have done to develop personal relationships with each member of their team. Struggling coaches and managers hate it when I ask this question. By the way, the myth that dictates that a coach or manager should not have a close relationship with team members is just that: a myth.
2. Coach in practice, and provide leadership during the game.
Nothing is more alarming than watching a red-faced coach or manager scream at team members during a game (or business meeting). Coaches who resort to this tactic must be pretty lousy teachers during practice (or training).
3. Fit talent to task.
Not all people are great at every aspect of the game (or business process). The best coaches and managers find the best roles for their players and build a team made up of many roles.
4. Find out what people do well, and help them do it more often.
People can improve 10x in an area of strength, and only 10% in an area of weakness.
Coaches should spend time developing strengths instead of hammering people on their weaknesses. Hammering someone on a weakness is a waste of time (and it really annoys the person being hammered).
5. Improvement takes time.
All the red-faced screaming, guilt trips, head games, and prodding in the world will not change this fact.
Performance improves when coaching, relationship, and talent are aligned.
If you're a coach or a business leader, do you agree with this list? One way to find out is to check your performance. Do you win, win, win or do you have a lousy record? (You are either one or the other.) Are you improving sales metrics? Are your team members solving business problems that lead to long-term relationships with customers? Are your people advancing, or are they leaving you?
The scoreboard does not lie.