Coaching as Management = Vital.

Posted: September 8, 2010 in Management, Opinion

This past weekend, I got asked by a friend (whose career is not in technology or marketing) what it took to be a strong manager or executive. He asked me point blank: “If you were to advise a 25 year-old how to become a successful executive, what would you say?”

It got me thinking that most of us have encountered great or influential teachers in our lifetimes. It could have been your 1st grade teacher giving you a lecture on the importance of sharing or it could have been a college professor who really made an impact on your life and outlook. Translating that to the business world, teaching is important. No good manager or executive can get to where they are or want to be without being a good teacher and knowing his or her craft. But really successful managers and executives take it a step further. They become coaches.

In my definition, coaches are equal parts teacher, psychiatrist, motivator, strategist, general manager and leader.

How does this translate to the business world? Very simply. I consider myself a coach. My formal title is not “coach”, it is executive or CMO,  but I consider myself to perform the duties that most successful coaches do. I try and hire people better than me at any one particular thing (much like a coach who could never actually PLAY better than the players). I try to motivate others. I try to empower others. I try to put together the proper strategy for others to give input on or to follow.

One could rightly point out that there are many different types of successful coaches. But putting one’s individual style aside, coaches all perform basically the same duties at their core. The fundamental goal most coaches have is to bring together individuals to perform as a group – and to do that well, you need to rely on a wide range of skills which include using a balance of the left and right brain.

After a lengthy discussion with my friend, I concluded that Management is not really about being a taskmaster. It is not only about keeping lists and being organized. It most closely resembles coaching and getting the most out of a team, and relies on empowerment of the individual for the betterment of the group or team. It is not about seeking the limelight or credit for success, it is about basking in the success that others make that you may have influenced.

I feel in most industries, from most executives I see especially in the fast-growing internet sector, that this viewpoint is the exception and not the rule. But I’m all ears. What do you all think?

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