Monday, May 6, 2013

Everyone Is A Coach

I'm a big sports fan. Hockey is my favorite. It's fast, and violent, and graceful, and full of finesse, and power, and endless hours of work away from the ice to get better. As in most sports, players, friends, families and fans are very engaged in every aspect of the game.

They all think at one point or another that they are the coach. Not literally of course, but we've all seen or heard someone offer their perspective on how things should be done. If only their keen insight would be listened to so the entire game/practice/tryout would be better!

Give me a break. Everyone is not a coach. At least, not a good one.

Work and Sports
Some of us also get fired up about our work. No, we don't swear at the television set when something goes wrong in our training videos like we...ahem...might...during a big game. But the reality is that there is a whole lot of "coaching" going on in the workplace from people who have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.

There, I said it. 

Apparently there is in fact something to be said for taking a global view of an organization. In sports a comprehensive game plan is critical to success. At work, the big picture is so important, that I now challenge myself to consider the unintended consequences of the decisions that are made in my organization that have nothing to do with human resources issues.

There, I said that too.

"Sometimes HR isn't the center of the universe."

Good Coaches Set An Example
Whether you are leading a group of players or are in a leadership position in your company, you are setting an example every day. Sometimes it is a good one that people come to rely on as part of their world. Other times, "coaches" get so caught up in their own ego, that they completely miss the point of what it means to offer their insight and perspective on the issues occurring at work.

It's a shame really, because typically these folks have knowledge that could be very useful. But alas, they typically worship at the church of "themselves" and earn a reputation for saying a lot but contributing very little.

How About You
Do you know any "coaches?" I do too. In fact, sometimes I slip into bad habits of being one of those people too. But having the courage to actually step back and evaluate my own behavior has given me the opportunity to leave most of my lame coaching days behind me. How about you?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


1 comment:

  1. Hey Jay - thanks for your insights here! I've definitely experienced both kinds of "coaches" in my professional career (that is, those with actual great advice and those who just want to hear themselves talk) and I think the key difference between a great mentor and a "lame coach" is the ability to listen. The best coaches in the workplace, I feel, are those who take the time to understand the POV of their teammates and offer advice from experience based on those people's needs. While hearing from superiors about their experiences is great, it's really only helpful if it's wisdom passed on with the other party's stories in mind.