There is one skill that separates a leader from all others. Do you have it?
As a leader, the most significant role you can play is that of coach.
As a coach to some of the country's highest-profile executives, Daniel Harkavy has witnessed the transformation-both professional and personal-that comes when leaders utilize coaching to turn their paycheck-driven teams into vibrant and successful growth cultures. Since founding his company in 1996, Harkavy and his team have coached thousands and shared their knowledge by certifying Coaching Leaders across the country. Now he is sharing his proven strategy with you.
Why become a Coaching Leader? Coaching makes developing people a high-payoff activity. It allows you to equip tomorrow's leaders today. And it gives you the ability to improve performance while raising the quality of life inside and outside of the office. Your legacy as a leader will begin when you take your first steps toward becoming a Coaching Leader.
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Becoming a Coaching LeaderThe Proven Strategy for Building a Team of Champions
By Daniel Harkavy Steve Halliday
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2007 Daniel Harkavy with Steve Halliday
All right reserved.
Chapter OneLiving Out Your Purpose at Work
In business we live and breathe numbers. Every year we set new goals; every month we accomplish one-twelfth of those goals, then wipe the slate clean. Every week in production we celebrate those running ahead and lament over those lagging behind. Every day we crack the quota whip.
No matter what we're talking about-leads needed, prospects converted, Units sold, deals closed, income generated-it all focuses around numbers. We measure performance by teammember, profitability by product, and keep careful track of return on investment, gross margin, and net worth requirements. You know the indicators on which you need to focus most intently to reach your annual targets.
This is what business is all about, right?
I say, yes and no.
On the one hand, you can't succeed in business without paying careful attention to numbers. That's obvious. Neglect the numbers, and you fail.
But don't forget that other hand!
The frightening truth is, you can come up with all the right numbers and still fail. You can meet your quotas, improve your profitability, expand your market share, keep theshareholders happy, increase efficiency ... and still get out of bed every day wondering, Do I really have to do this again?
I've met too many less-than-happy, stressed out, unfulfilled, bitter leaders-who were all good at their jobs-to believe that making your numbers alone will solve all your problems. These men and women would be the first to tell you that there has to be more to business than numbers.
But if that's so, then what could it be? If producing good numbers doesn't make for success in business, what does?
I believe the answer revolves around discovering your vocational purpose.
Helping Your People to Develop
What is your vocational purpose? Your business card or title may say this or that, but what is your vocational purpose?
Is it more than "to build great systems"?
Is it more than "to create accurate and efficient processes"?
Is it more than "to build a furniture company" or "to sell a lawn-care product"?
You may be very good at what you do, but if at the end of the day you leave the office feeling professionally empty, spiritually hollow, and bored or weighed down, then most likely you need to reinfuse your task with a healthy dose of job significance. You need to reconnect the purpose of your heart to your actions. You need to start asking yourself not just "How can I lead better?" but "Why do I lead in the first place?"
It may feel easier to skip such a big question, but doing so will almost certainly saddle you with a host of unwelcome passengers: boredom, fatigue, discouragement, even despair. Many who refuse to ask themselves about their vocational purpose wind up meandering from job to job, always searching (always unsuccessfully) for that "something else" that will finally give real meaning and significance to their workdays.
What a waste!
Why a waste? Because you can find all the meaning and significance and purpose you need right where you are now. You don't have to be constantly looking for greener grass. You needn't be always on the hunt for a shining kingdom somewhere over the rainbow. The job you have right now has the potential to supply you with all the purpose you need to feel fulfilled and satisfied in your role as leader-you just need to change the way you think about your job. Based on my work with thousands of leaders over the past two decades, I believe it comes down to this: The key is to see yourself as more than a mere manager. Begin to perceive your role as that of a career and life improver for the people you lead! When you take on that challenge, you'll find your job overflowing with purpose.
Leaders are called to develop people. Their passion for people drives everything-and few things in life feel sweeter than investing in the lives of others and then watching them grow and succeed as a result of your efforts.
Can you imagine leaving your people a legacy that will far outlast your hours spent working alongside them? This is what excites me most about coaching. I know I can have a lasting impact on others that only those most passionate about their calling at work can enjoy. Coaching your people gives you all the structure you need to achieve that lasting impact.
Greg Harkavy Coach Building Champions, Inc.
Do you want to become an even more effective leader than you already are? Effective leadership is all about taking followers on a journey that enables them to experience and accomplish more as a result of the coaching and vision you bring to them. Truly great leaders walk alongside their followers and help them to become more on this journey. That's what these leaders see as their main purpose: to help their people develop professionally, personally, relationally and even spiritually. The journey could last one year, three years, five years, thirty years-however long their teammates remain with them. But regardless of the time frame involved, people development is a top priority. That's how they find real and satisfying purpose in their jobs.
And there's no reason the same thing can't become true for you.
Good or Great?
Over the past two decades of coaching leaders, I have observed many good leaders and a few really great leaders. At first, it's not easy to tell the difference. But as you spend time with these men and women and observe their teams, the subtle differences begin to stand out.
Both good and great leaders are numbers driven. They know what needs to be measured, and they have systems and reports that provide essential data to help them manage their operations effectively. Both good and great leaders remain very clear on their team's convictions, purpose, and vision. They look the same, dress the same, and have similar backgrounds. So what's the difference?
They communicate in very different ways and tell very different stories.
Good leaders tell you about their successes. They describe how they have surrounded themselves with good talent. They report how their teams meet quotas and exceed goals. They show you wonderful systems and clever tools that help them in their pursuit of efficiency. But you probably won't hear much about how they develop their people, and that's where great leaders stand apart from the good.
Great leaders tell you about their successes, too. They describe the superb talent around them and show you wonderful systems and clever tools for efficiency. But they take special and obvious delight in developing their people. That's the crucial difference.
Quick Leadership Quiz
1. Have I demonstrated a high level of competency in my role as manager or leader?
2. Do my personal and professional behaviors line up with my convictions?
3. Have I put corporate convictions, purpose, and vision in writing, and do I share these things strategically and consistently to everyone on my team?
4. Do my team members know-that is, can they clearly articulate-our convictions, purpose, and vision?
5. Do I commonly talk more about my team's success than my own?
6. Do I derive greater satisfaction out of what my team has created or what I have created?
7. Do I methodically and intentionally develop my people?
8. Do I have preset, scheduled coaching sessions with each of my key teammates?
9. Do I have a method for coaching my teammates?
10. Do I have a system for following up with my teammates when their action plans are due?
11. Do I know my teammates' dreams?
12. Do I know my teammates' greatest fears?
13. Do I know what truly motivates each of my teammates?
14. Am I most fulfilled by helping others reach new heights in business and in life?
If you answer "yes" to the majority of the questions above, this book will affirm your efforts and sharpen some of the skills you already possess. If you answered "no" more often than "yes," don't worry; you'll find help in the pages that follow.
All leaders, both good and great, fall into one of five camps when it comes to people development. Into which group do you think you fall?
1. The "Self-Made" Leader. The self-made leader buys into the philosophy that each individual is responsible for his or her own professional and personal development. After all, this leader never had anyone really develop him, so why should anyone else need such hocus-pocus? Besides, he succeeded in an independent role and later won a management position, or he ventured out on his own because he knew he could do it better. He did it all on his own-and that's how it should be for everyone.
This type of leader will usually plateau early and never reach his full potential.
2. The "Perk-and-Pray" Leader. The perk-and-pray leader invests in occasional training and by doing so thinks she is hitting the mark. When a "superstar" seminar comes to town, the leader sends a few of her key people to the event. Yet very rarely does this leader do any real follow-up to assess what was learned and how the information will enhance her teammates' careers or lives. Because the leader has no real plan, she coughs up the $295, treats it like a perk, and prays that it will improve the life of her employees (and perhaps spark some appreciation).
3. The "Mentor" Leader. This leader has climbed through the ranks and has mastered the various positions now occupied by those who report to him. He is respected for his knowledge and the success he has attained. This leader invites his people to come to him with problems and opportunities and will tell them how he successfully handled a very similar situation. People will work for the mentor leader because of the draft effect; success comes their way as a result of what they learn by drafting off their mentor.
4. The "Outsourcing" Leader. This leader partners with an industry-specific training firm and contracts them to train her teammates on specific skill sets. She understands the return on investment in her people and has created a plan and budget to develop her people with the help of an outside expert. This is a great strategy for the leader whose organization benefits more from her focusing on other priorities. It frees her up to focus on executing her vision, working with larger clients, setting direction, and working with key partners and board members.
5. The "Coaching" Leader. This leader has embraced the idea of building a "coaching culture" and follows a proactive coaching plan for his direct reports. This leader sees his purpose and responsibility as investing in his people so that they grow professionally and personally.
This type of leader spends a large percentage of his week coaching others to higher levels of performance and effectiveness. He usually feels very fulfilled and enjoys a good amount of success. People actually line up at the door of his department or company to sign on. The coaching leader uses this strength as a unique leadership proposition.
Do you see yourself in any of these five leader types? Each of them can earn the title of "good" leader; but if you want to move from being a "good" leader to becoming a "great" one, work at becoming a coaching leader. That's just what most great leaders tend to do. And in this book, I want to give you a proven model that will enable you to truly become an excellent coaching leader.
Coaching: The Best Route to Your Purpose
Most leaders know they must devote time and resources to develop their people and teams. Unfortunately, however, few have a plan capable of bringing about measurable change in the careers and lives of their teammates. In most organizations, in fact, team member development reaches its peak before that organization reaches any notable level of success. Why? It's really very simple.
Before orders start pouring in, members of a new team have lots of time on their hands. That means leaders have the time to train and observe their young and energized employees. But then "it" happens. Success! Orders start pouring in and the organization's team, systems, and infrastructure get maxed out. They simply cannot take on any more business, and almost overnight the life cycle of the team changes from sowers and growers to managers and maintainers.
As the company or department continues to make money, the leader must deal with all the challenges that go along with running a growing business. That means the old training disciplines quickly get replaced with crisis management conversations. People development screeches to a halt-and soon the leader starts wondering whether it makes any difference if he makes 50, 500, or 50 gazillion widgets an hour.
This all-too-common scenario rarely takes place in a coaching culture. Leaders who become skilled coaches, who have made coaching one of their highest payoff activities, are some of the most fulfilled and passionate leaders in business. They have to deal with crises and quotas, too, just like everyone else, but the coaching culture they have developed spares them headaches that tend to crush other managers.
No matter what product your company makes or what service your organization provides, you have the opportunity to master a skill that can forever change how the people who call you "leader" live and work. By mastering your one-on-one coaching skills and by following a proven coaching model, you can truly help your teammates build more "switched on" careers and balanced lives than they ever dreamed possible. That helps your company-which, of course, helps you.
An Intentional Coaching Leader: Michael's Story
Supremely confident and polished, yet humble, Michael Van Skaik was an incredibly successful division president in a national banking firm. He had no problem with goal setting and execution. He was a gifted planner and team builder. Michael had built and sold one company and was working on his second career, leading a multibillion dollar division for this national firm.
When Michael came to me, his team consisted of strong leaders and mega producers. The environment he had created attracted highly energized and talented people. Michael knew he had a lot to learn about balancing his personal life with his career. He understood that his job was not merely about making a lot of money, but he didn't know what else to strive for.
Through our coaching sessions, we discovered Michael's real passions. He was a builder. He loved building structures with his hands and with his mind. He knew how to find, attract, and hire the smartest and hardest working people, and then get them meshing with others to build a winning team. But he had never given much thought about how to go beyond that.
This much he did know: every time he returned from a vacation or business trip, Michael always worried about which of his teammates had been recruited away from him. To better retain the talent he had amassed, he realized he needed a way to add value to their lives. He also suspected that by doing so, he would find real fulfillment in his own career.
More than halfway through our first year of coaching, I asked Michael a simple question: "What is your plan to develop your team?" He had a one-word answer.
The question dumbfounded him. He had never thought of intentionally developing his people. He planned to hire the right people and provide them with an environment where they could operate as effectively and autonomously as possible-and it had worked, to an extent. He was a "self-made" leader. But he quickly realized his strategy lacked the power to help him make a significant difference in the lives of his teammates.
Building a Team Development Plan
I challenged Michael to create a team development plan. First, I encouraged him to identify as many strategies as possible to add value to the careers and lives of those who called him leader. I didn't give him much specific direction. And in his next coaching session, he shared his plan.
"I want to do for my people what you've done for me," he declared. "I want to coach them."
Excerpted from Becoming a Coaching Leader by Daniel Harkavy Steve Halliday Copyright © 2007 by Daniel Harkavy with Steve Halliday. Excerpted by permission.
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