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Be a coach, not a player

 6 September 2022     Donald Cooper 

The people who start and grow businesses from the ground up are generally fearless initiative takers. Nothing stops them. They do it all and, if they’re good at it, they succeed – for a while.

Eventually, the business grows to the point where it has employees and then managers and supervisors. But typically, the boss keeps taking the initiative, keeps giving people a job and then taking it away from them a little bit at a time. And the very initiative-taking that built the business, now limits its growth and drives good people away.

Here’s the thing. Initiative doesn’t exist in the air. It exists in people. And when we take it, we take it away from people. Good people leave in frustration and the rest stay and take “I don’t give a damn” pills. I see this happening all the time with clients.

One of the biggest challenges as any business grows is for the founder or boss to make the important transition from being a player to being a coach. Players take initiative. Coaches give initiative. That’s how it works.

So, do you see yourself as a player or a coach? In sports, the difference is clear. Players play and coaches coach. You never see a football coach run out on the field in the middle of a game, take the ball from a player and run down the field himself. Why? Because there are clear rules about coaching and playing and there’s a referee who will blow his whistle if coaches try to be players.

Sadly, in business, there are no clear rules on coaching and playing – and there’s no referee. So, bosses (coaches) often grab the ball and run with it while the players stand on the sidelines. As the people in charge of the rules, the bosses are also the ones with the whistle and they never blow that whistle on themselves!

To rate your ‘coaching ability’ in just two minutes, click here to download my business tool entitled Effective coaches and leaders do these ten things well. How do you stack up?

Give your people specific tasks and projects. Make sure they have the training, resources and empowerment to succeed and that they understand why the task or project is important. Ask them the magic question, “By when can we agree that this will be completed?”

This creates urgency and accountability. Document their completion commitment and follow up at appropriate intervals to see how it’s going. The world is run by those who follow up. Let them know you’re there to help and guide them (coach), but at all times they will they keep ownership of the task or project.

In addition to tasks or projects with specific deadlines, give them ongoing responsibilities and then let them do their job. Every once in a while, ask “How’s it going?” Look for opportunities to praise and thank while looking for opportunities to coach without taking the initiative away. You’ll be amazed at how your good people will become great and how non-performers will become obvious.

So, what will you do to make the important transition from player to coach? Remember, if there is a heaven, there’s an express lane for coaches. They grow their business by growing the people in it. That’s a wonderful thing.

If you’d like help making the important transition from player to coach in your business, perhaps we should chat. I’m easy to find. My e-mail address is below. 

Now, here’s something else to think or smile about:

Quote of the week: All businesses sell stuff. Great businesses are on a mission to improve the human condition in some significant way. What is your significant purpose?

New customers are gold. Don’t let them slip away! When you have someone buying from you for the first time, it may be because one of your competitors let them down, didn’t communicate their value effectively, or didn’t nurture the relationship. Or, they may have found you for some other reason.

So, now that you have this new customer, what will you do to make sure that you don’t lose them? What compelling value will you provide? What extraordinary experience will you deliver? How will you make their day? How will you thank them and communicate with them to build a lasting relationship? Or will you drop the ball and donate them to a competitor?

New customers are gold. They have money to spend and they know hundreds of people with money to spend. Don’t let them slip away.

Some important stats about employee turnover. According to a recent survey by Career Builder, the digital employment site, today’s young employees hold an average of 10.8 jobs from ages 18 to 42, with the majority of those jobs being held before age 27.

For Gen Z’s (age up to 24) the average length of time spent at a job is two years and three months while for Millennials (age 25 to 40) that figure is two years and nine months. Gen Xers (age 41 to 56) were at a job for an average of five years and two months. Baby Boomers (age 57 to 75) spent an average of eight years and three months at a job.

That’s it for this week. Stay safe! Live brilliantly!

Cocoon by Sealy
This HGO article was written by:
Donald Cooper
Donald Cooper

Donald Cooper has been both a world-class manufacturer and an award-winning retailer. Now, as a business speaker and coach he helps business owners and managers throughout the world to rethink, refocus and re-energize their business to create compelling customer value, clarity of purpose and long-term profitability.

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