You, Your Team, and Your Coach

The grand purpose of coaching is to help your managers, the people they manage, and your organization make the transition from where you are to where you want to be.

Some points are so obvious it seems silly to even mention them but experience suggests that, just as common sense is not really so common, we can be blindly oblivious of what seems obvious.

1. You can not influence the direction of a body at rest! When you sit in your car at a stop sign, with your foot on the brake, turning the wheel back and forth produces no results. The idea here is to understand the importance of getting started. It doesn't matter if we start in a totally wrong direction,if we are in motion we can change direction, a little or a lot, slowly or quickly as things begin to happen, but we must first be in motion!

2. You can not become the person you want to be while remaining the person you are!

Leo Tolstoy once said, "Everyone wants to change the world but no one wants to change himself."

To effect change we must accept change - even hunger for change.

In order to get the motion started and to help you determine its direction you coach will need to ask the management team a lot of questions, such as:

What's going on in your business right now that:

Worries you?

Makes you nervous?

Scares you?

Angers you?

Disappoints you?

Embarrasses you?

Pleases you?

Makes you smile?

Makes you proud?

Makes you feel optimistic?

What happened in the past year that should not have happened?

How much did it cost the organization?

Are there long term ramifications?

How could it have been avoided?

Have steps been taken to make sure it can't happen again?

What didn't happen in the past year that should have happened?

What was the cost to the organization?

Are there long term ramifications?

What could or should have been done to make it happen?

Is it salvageable - can we make it happen this year?

Have we taken steps to make sure we won't make this mistake again?

What are the overall greatest concerns and challenges envisioned by the management team - for the organization as a whole and by department?

It's important for the coach to make sure that he, and each team member, is aware of the perspective, attitude, and concerns of all involved parties.

The question now becomes:

Where do you, as individuals, as a team and as an organization want to be in five years?

And then:

What must happen in the next twelve months to make this a strong possibility?

We need to look at:

Resources in terms of: Equipment, facilities, people and training

Production in terms of: Volume, speed, quality efficiency and costs

Products in terms of: Improvements, to be discontinued, developed, or added

Marketing in terms of: Expansion of existing markets, development of new markets, advertising effectiveness, sales, pricing, and customer service.

People in terms of: motivation, attitude, quality of work life, training, knowledge,numbers and relationships

Management Resources in terms of: leadership skills, coaching skills, resource utilization skills, interpersonal skills, intuition, innovation, etc.

Dependent on the organization, this question and process might be repeated for a ten year outlook.

Even when an organization has been heavily involved in a process of strategic planning and goal setting, the coach must insure that every person with any responsibility towards the achievement of organizational objectives is aware of the objectives and of his or her role and responsibilities and of what personal goals and objectives must be set and realized to insure that he or she, as well as the department, is up to the task.

The essence of good coaching is the ability to ask the right question of the right person at the right time and to do so in a non threatening manner that will produce results - not retreat! The coach's real world experience and understanding gained as a result of talking and working with hundreds of managers in diverse situations allow him (or her) to intuitively relate to your problems, concerns and situation and to suggest options which have proven to work in the past.

Coaching a team of up to a dozen members is, in most cases best done in ninety minute weekly or bi-weekly sessions. Too long a session leads to brain stagnation and too long an interval leads to lack of focus and ultimately to lack of commitment.

Len McNally C.I.M. President of The Leadership Centre

Len McNally is President and founder (in 1996) of The Leadership Centre, dedicated to leadership development, management team building and change management through executive and corporate coaching - from the top floor to the shop floor. With more than thirty years experience in sales, marketing and business development Len has for many years been an avid student of psychology, behavior and motivation. He still reads three to four books a month and has writen several book reviews for He can be reached at (519) 759-1127 or email: Other articles may be seen at:

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