There is a little known fact that at Lincoln City Football Club, only the best players receive any coaching prior to the next game. The less regarded players turn up to the games and are expected to pick up from the senior players, what their role for the game is. Now that fact is little known because of course it isn’t true. No football club would be run in such a manner. And yet how many companies can look at themselves today and state that their businesses are not being run like this?
No professional footballer, rugby player, basketball player, golfer etc. is good enough to not require coaching. Andy Murray is currently the number one tennis player in the world and I am sure is a better tennis player than his coach. So why bother with one? It’s simple; because a coach’s expertise is knowing how to evolve a certain player’s game, analyse the performance and provide guidance and motivation along the way. They can see what the player needs to work on, more than the player themselves. At the elite level of sports, the margins of winning and losing are sometimes so small, that the role of a coach in being on the right side of that margin is an important part of success.
Great business leaders have coaches as well. In fact, great success stories in any field, have coaches and mentors. I know of a hugely successful National Geographic photographer who still attends training workshops of another legendary photographer. It all points to the fact that training is necessary for improvement and achievement. It is a genuine mystery to me that there isn’t a habit of coaching all staff at any levels of a business. A company, like a sports team, has the staff (players) on hand to make the company a winning team, or a bunch of underachievers. The success of a company lies it in staff. Doesn’t it make sense to invest heavily in this asset? Or are they not confident in the players on board to invest in coaching?
Of course, a managing director or department head needs to look at their staff and assess if they have the right people for the job in hand. When a new manager comes into a sports team, some players are let go, and some are brought in, but you can’t just begin the coaching process until you have just the right people you want. The coaching process has to be present and consistent throughout an organisation’s life. If it wants the staff to perform, it has to invest in their development, and not just the technical side of how to do the job, but in the emotional side of who they are, and what they need to perform to an excellent standard. I know that not everyone is open to the coaching process, but again, we can’t shut the door on the process, because it won’t work for some people. If the alternative to coaching is to just hope they do better, without identifying their goals, strengths and skills, then good luck to a company that runs with that philosophy.
It’s time to abandon the philosophy in business of only the higher levels of employees receiving business coaching. Yes, some employees will be self-driven and will rise above other employees regardless of training. But we can’t bet the success of the company on chance. How can developing and coaching employees at all levels be a great risk? Fear of loss on the investment I guess. Costs need explaining. Make the company a runaway, profitable success, and the costs tend to not look so important.