In the midst of all their meetings and work, the best leaders routinely coach people. These are not Q&A hallway conversations. Instead, they are sit down visits where in-depth and important work takes place. The big challenge for many is that they do not differentiate between coaching and supervision.
Supervision is based on the observation and oversight related to the execution of a particular task, project or activity. Coaching, on the other hand, is a development process by which an individual is supported while achieving a specific goal.
One challenge for many this late spring moving toward summer is that they are confusing the two activities of supervision and coaching. I think this is in part because they feel overwhelmed by the current context. We live in a world of hyper speed, connectivity, and vigilance which creates endless interruptions and distractions. Some leaders are even experiencing an addiction to these distractions, resulting in ADHD patterns of coping and leading others. As a result, their direct reports are suffering; they are overwhelmed by their boss’s ADHD behaviors.
Therefore, we need to enter into a discipline of staying focused on the right things while being mindful of our surroundings. We must proactively engage in relationship building which is the precursor to team building.
During the From Vision to Action Leadership Training, I remind people that coaching is a structured dialogue about purpose, strategy, relationships. It involves questions, analysis, action planning and follow through. In coaching, we may not always be able, as coaches, to solve the problem. Instead we have to emphasize the choices.
While there can be many goals of coaching, this week I challenge you to assist those who you coach to figure out where they fit in best within the organization, to share with them information and perspective so they can make the right and the better choices in all situations, and to help them build healthy work relationships. When you do this level of work together, then you will be navigating in the world of excellence at a whole new level.