Coaching

As David and I progressed in our development session, his energy in our conversation caught my attention. I usually associate this type of energy with confusion, but I’ve known this company president for years, so I thought back to the cycles I had observed throughout our relationship.

I mentioned to him that in the past, mid-year typically finds his company at a place where goals and performance are in tension. A place when the high hopes of January give way to the reality of June. Even though David wasn’t aware of his feelings, he couldn’t deny his energy, so we continued our conversation.

I recently learned that the typical worker checks their device screens 74 times each day, for texts, emails, and internet browsing. Given my own experience, I’m not surprised, but the real motivation for these actions did surprise me.

It seems that the brain associates checking with working and the more a person checks, the more they feel like they are working hard. A sense of working hard seems to help people cope with feelings of anxiety and create a false sense of self-esteem.

Senior leaders often demonstrate these same motivations in another way. David’s intensive planning process loads a series of growth goals, initiatives, and changes into a fixed talent pool of leaders. Yet at mid-year, the facts say the talent pool doesn’t have the capacity to win. Becoming busier, for the sole purpose of coping with reality, fills this aching hole. David acted very busy.

While this might sound like a simple problem to solve, it’s not. Scheduling stretch goals, organizational changes and other initiatives can make a leader feel purposeful and busy. Yet, once that sense of, “I can’t win” settles in, busyness depletes a person’s energy that developing talent demands.

I’ve asked other leaders what they would do when facing this dilemma and they all say something like, “Either increase the talent pool or decrease growth plans.” Yet, when it comes to following through almost none do and for a good reason.

Yesterday, I was having a developmental conversation with a senior leadership team who state that on average they spend 40% of their time solving problems, 13% recruiting, 8% on developing direct reports, and 35% on other tasks.

As our conversation drilled down we realized that in all cases what they called “developing direct reports” was in reality, solving problems. Why was this intriguing?

This group had identified three behavior changes in their direct reports that would improve their capacity to win, yet none was eager to implement them. As we pursued this, it was clear they didn’t believe they could succeed so their energy remained too low to engage. As we looked deeper, the root cause hit us all like a ton of bricks. They had never learned the skills to coach others on changing behavior so they busy themselves with solving problems.

If the leaders who are responsible for developing talent lack performance coaching skills, your stretch goals will always be in jeopardy. Firing, hiring, and bringing in outsiders should never be a primary method for expanding talent. Every time you bring in a new person, they bring their culture with them – like creating drag on an airplane that wants to fly.

Each of you has one or two stretch goals that seem out of reach because you or others on your team don’t have either the right skills or experience. Good news is that it doesn’t need to stay this way.

Would you like to help your people grow? Start by creating a baseline for each person through a 360 review. They’re inexpensive and easy to implement. Let me know your thoughts.  Jim@peer-place.com

Jim

2 responses to “Coaching

  1. Hi Jim,

    I continue to gain and learn from your blog. Fantastic work here. Thank you very much.

    John Byrum COO BPS – Bakersfield Pipe and Supply C – 206-719-2035 Email jbyrum@bakersfieldpipe.com On the web http://www.bakersfieldpipe.com

    You don’t build a business. You build people and those people build the business.

    From: Jim Moats Blog <comment-reply@wordpress.com> Reply-To: Jim Moats Blog <comment+_atjd6qqw9eili8-yadd1g@comment.wordpress.com> To: John Byrum <jbyrum@bakersfieldpipe.com> Subject: [New post] Coaching

    Jim Moats posted: “As David and I progressed in our development session, his energy in our conversation caught my attention. I usually associate this type of energy with confusion, but I’ve known this company president for years, so I thought back to the cycles I had observ”

  2. Another great post Jim. Thanks much for taking time to share your thoughts. Your comment ‘Every time you bring in a new person, they bring their culture with them – like creating drag on an airplane that wants to fly.’ is SO TRUE. Building and maintaining the right culture is a most critical element in leadership. Much of culture is expressed in core values, and how that deploys depends largely on the leader. Leaders must shape it, live it, and teach it. The new hire needs to quickly get on board with the culture, and in fact shouldn’t be hired if they can’t get in alignment at least conceptually. This can all get discussed in the hiring process. If done correctly, the probability of a successful hire increases dramatically.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s