byMike Neill

Coaching is Not the Same as Management- It’s So Much Better

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Last year, Cassidy was promoted to loan supervisor at a large credit union because of her operational proficiency, determination and great attitude. However, Cassidy lacked the innate ability to motivate staff, change behavior and hold people accountable. She expected to receive some management training at a later date but never did. After two years, loan goals were not being met, Cassidy was burnt out and employees were increasingly disengaged.  Why? Because she needed training on how to coach employees.

Many times, the most effective managers are not the ones with the most technical skills. They are ones with the ability to improve employee performance and transform the credit union’s bottom-line.

This doesn’t mean you should go out and fire all of your operationally-savvy managers. It means that many of your managers simply need training on how to coach employees. Coaching is different from management in two very significant ways:

  1. Coaching is about people while management is about process.
  2. Coaching is about improving behaviors while management is about improving outcomes.

Good coaching training ensures that your managers understand six essential strategies for helping employees to reach their highest potentials.

Teach- Effective managers show employees how to improve their performance. Think about an athletic coach. A great track coach shows a runner how to run faster by changing his/her technique. That’s what effective coaches do. In business, we teach our players or our employees, to be more effective. In order to do this, effective managers study each employee’s technique and then show them how to improve performance.

Communicate- Effective coaches know what to say, when to say it and how to say it. Good coaches listen more than they talk, while ineffective managers do a great job of talking and excelling at one-way communication. Good coaches want players to understand the game plan. Effective managers ensure employees understand the purpose, goals and objectives of all credit union initiative. This understanding and buy-in requires two-way communication. You can’t coach by e-mail and text. You’ve got to interact face-to-face with the people you’re coaching.

Set high standards- Effective mangers get their satisfaction from knowing that they set and held high performance standards and that their commitment to excellence helped push employees to the next level of performance. The credit union’s success is their success.

Maximize each person’s talent- Effective managers don’t say: “Your cross-selling totals are great, so it’s okay if you’re not very accurate when balancing your cash drawer.” Good coaching requires that you recognize employees’ strengths and weaknesses and offer support so they can develop their skills across the board.

You will never be done coaching. Ever. You’re always working to develop the employee, and prepare them for the next level or opportunity.

Create a team-Effective coaches create unity and a combined vision. I’ve played on many teams in my life, and it’s rare when all the players like everyone on the team. But even when we weren’t all great friends, our coaches taught us how to play as a team. They expected us to respect our teammates, recognize their contributions and hold them accountable. That’s what effective managers do. They create a team that doesn’t necessarily start with a group of people who all know and like each other. Sometimes personalities are divergent, talents differ and communication styles vary widely, but the team respects each other and work together toward a common goal.

Motivate- Effective coaches figure out which employees have the capacity to be motivated and identify how to motivate them. Effective coaches know how to unlock what motivates employees. For some people it’s recognition, for some it’s money, and for some it’s the opportunity to learn something new. Other employees just love a challenge—doing something that others said couldn’t be done. Effective coaches identify these motivational switches and use them to increase performance and profitability.

In lifeguard training, you learn that when you’re attempting to rescue someone who is drowning, there is a chance you will have to let the swimmer go if you are being pulled under ourself. It’s the same with coaching. You can motivate and coach the vast majority of employees to become better performers. However, in the rare case of an employee that can’t be motivated, the best solution is to fire him or her and move on. Otherwise, you’ll both drown.

For more ideas on how to develop effective managers, download my ebook on Effective Coaching.

“Go for it gang! You know where to find me.”

-Mike Neill

Michael Neill is the President and Founder of ServiStar Consulting, a company he started 20 years ago. When he’s not performing stand-up comedy in his living room, you can find him at University of Tennessee football games shouting helpful advice to the coaching staff.