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Coaching as a management tool

Bill Jacox News

If you’ve read any business articles in the last few years, you’ve probably come across articles that describe the manager as a coach. If you’re a manager, you may find that idea a little strange. For most of us, business isn’t a sportit’s a way to make a living.

But if you look a little more closely at the metaphor, it really does make sense, as Entrepreneur Magazine notes, “A manager shows someone how to do something, such as the day-to-day tasks for his job and a coach goes a step further to help an individual realize his full potential and maximize positive outcomes.” If you are a manager, then you are a coach.

The idea of a manager as a coach suggests that you’re grooming your team members to play a game. And business, after all, is business. You may feel a disconnect between managing and coaching. But sports and business aren’t as different as they may first seem.

Imagine yourself as a coach for an adult league sports team. You’ve been playing your sport since you were a kid, and you’re exceptionally good at it. You know all about the league, because you’ve been playing in them for years. Is there an away game? You know exactly where you’re headed and what to expect when you get there. Are you playing a rival team next week? You already know their strengths and weaknessesand you have a solid strategy for winning.

But who’s on your team? Your players may not have played your sport for years, or they may even be brand new to it. They may have heard or read about adult leagues, but never gotten involved. They may not know how to read other teams’ strengths or weaknesses, or have a clue what it means to play on someone else’s field. All they know isthey’re on a team, they’re playing a particular sport, and they want to win.

In order to effectively lead your team, you’ll need to direct your players. But you’ll also need to encourage them, motivate them, support them…coach them.

In order to effectively lead your business team, you need to do many of the same things as a sport coach, but in a different context. As a business coach you have a number of critical jobsand quite a few strategic tools for doing those jobs as effectively as possible. It’s important to know these tools well. Following are seven tactical tools to master that will improve your business coaching effectiveness.

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