Leadership in business is about causing diverse teams of people to fully engage every day, and perform year round with little or no real practice. Chris Lytle said in his book The Accidental Sales Manager, “You’re the sales manager but you don’t manage sales. You must coach the players to do what it takes to win instead of trying to coach the score.”
Coaching is different from managing, training, or mentoring. Telling people what to do is not coaching. People don’t like to be told what to do, but rather, prefer to be enabled and helped. They want to be involved. As the old maxim goes, “Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, but involve me and I learn.” Coaching subscribes to this, and inspires people to become better in everything they do. It emphasizes the development of individuals and improving their performances gradually, which is a more practical approach than telling people what to do, which will be met with resistance.
Coaching is not Training
While training and coaching both promote learning, they do so in different ways:
- Training is about teaching specific skills or knowledge – Coaching is about facilitating someone else’s thinking and helping them learn on the job.
- Training usually takes place off-site or in dedicated classes – Coaching takes place in the office and (when carried out by a manager) can be integrated into day-to-day workplace conversations.
- Training is more typically carried out in groups – Coaching, though it is sometimes in groups, is usually a one-to-one process, tailored to the individual’s needs.
- Training is usually delivered by an external consultant or dedicated internal trainer – Coaching can be delivered by an external consultant, or by a manager.
Coaching is not Mentoring
There are some superficial similarities between coaching and mentoring, as they are both typically one-to-one conversations aimed at facilitating professional or personal development, but there are also significant differences:
- A Mentor is usually a more senior person who shares experience and advises a junior person working in the same field. A coach is not necessarily senior to the person being coached, and does not typically give advice or pass on experience. Instead they use questions and feedback to facilitate the other person’s thinking and practical learning.
- A Mentor is not typically the manager of the person being mentored, but someone who is available for advice and guidance when needed. Coaching is frequently delivered by managers with their teams.
Coaching is not Counselling
Like mentoring, there are also some superficial similarities between coaching and counseling. They are both typically one-to-one conversations aimed at facilitating the personal development of the client, but there are also significant differences:
- Counselling and therapy deal with personal problems, Coaching addresses personal and professional performance.
- Counselling begins with a problem, coaching can begin with a goal or aspiration.
- Counselling is sought by people having difficulties, coaching is used by high achievers, beginners or people who are just stuck.
- Many forms of Counselling focus on the past. They look at the origins and resolution of problems. Coaching focuses on the future and developing inspiring, workable solutions.
Great coaching drives sales results, frees up business leaders from time spent managing, develops and retains talent, and reenforces the knowledge you gain from training. It can give your business a real competitive edge. Coaching WORKS!
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