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Coaching

Coaching Over Managing: Motivate Your Team

A manager points out mistakes, but a coach shows how to prevent those mistakes in the future.
Coaching Over Managing: Motivate Your Team
Image credit: Hero Images | Getty Images
VIP Contributor
Entrepreneur, CEO and Founder, Sports 1 Marketing
5 min read

To be an effective leader, you need to understand the difference between coaching and managing your team. A coach takes on a much more dynamic role than a manager. A manager is charged with putting pragmatic logistics systems into place. A coach is there to help inspire the team to perform at their level best -- to bring their A-game.

This is not to diminish the capacity of a manager, who organizes business units, helps to “run the show,” has a different action item list from a coach and deals with overseeing all the administrative tasks that are needed to run a company day-to-day. You need to have both in a business (or at least a person who possess skills that apply to both) in order to succeed.

Related: Multimillionaire Coach Shares 8 Tips for Running a Coaching Business

Coaching vs. Managing

One of the most important distinctions between the two is that, in general, managing centers more around giving direction and is devoid of inspiration. As a coach, I can instruct everybody in the office in the principles of gratitude, empathy, accountability and effective communication. But, we need managerial guidance in what we're tasked with accomplishing daily. If there are no efficiencies, systems or processes in place, nothing much is going to get done.

With managing, if there are only rules, procedures and systems in place, but no motivation to inspire a team to apply themselves to achieve top performance, you will never fully see your desired results.

If, like me, you find coaching people a much more enjoyable process, doing things like empowering individuals with durable values and creating a vision, then look to hire someone to run the management aspect of the business. Find an expert with tools such as Excel; someone who can do things like make PowerPoints, organize lists, monitor team members, track progress, and ensure that everything runs smoothly.

Related: Coaching: The Best-Kept Secret to Growing as an Entrepreneur

Coaching Community

Everyone manages to some degree, but not everyone coaches. That is why having a coaching environment at your company is a game-changer.

Put tiers of mentors in place, from your executives to your interns.

Have values that you teach, no matter what job a person holds.

Encourage people to pursue being their best self, not just to complete their tasks within a specified time period.

Use these strategies to shape your business into one focused on coaching and empowering others.

Related: 7 Steps to Coaching Your Employees to Success

Coach and Be Coached

It's also important to understand what your role is in being coached. The best approach you can take to learning is an attitude of: "I'm going to listen. I'm going to work with others. I'm going to have them listen. Then, I'm going to teach somebody else to do the same."

That's how coaching scales from the learning stage to the execution stage, and then into the equity stage. Remember, everything is in degrees, not absolutes. Think about what percentage you are a coach, what percentage you are a manager, and what actions you take in each role. Be aware of when you need to coach and when you need to manage.

Related: The 5 Essentials to Effective Coaching

Coach Up Your Squad

A good coach illuminates mistakes.

One of the best tweaks I’ve made to my business is the implementation of a “dummy tax award.” Everyone in the company (including me) shares what their biggest mistake was for the week and how it impacted the business. Then, we identify the principle or strategy that could have avoided this error. But we don’t just illuminate mistakes, we reward the “biggest” blooper with a bonus.

The hardest part about making mistakes is being accountable. Fessing up. Accountability forces you to be honest – with yourself first, then with others.

As a coach, you want your team to believe they are 100 percent accountable for their mistakes. You want them to ask themselves what they did to attract it into their life, and what they were able to learn from it. Thomas Edison failed over 2000 times trying to invent the light bulb. Did he let it bring him down? No! His perspective: "I learned 2000 ways not to make a light bulb!"

Consistent Skills Training

A core tenet of coaching is that you work to improve people's skills. Lend your situational knowledge to your team and provide constructive support. No matter what job a person holds, a good coach sees to it that they are consistently and persistently improving their applicable skills.

As a coach, you also assist by identifying the shortcomings of individuals and groups and empower them with the guidance needed to correct those ineffective skills. A manager simply points out deficiencies. A coach shows the team a path to avoid or correct deficiencies.

Related: Master These 6 Coaching Skills to Lead Your Team Where They've Never Dared Go

The Coach Approach

Think about how often people operate on autopilot, just going through the motions. It is your job as a coach to help these people identify the ways they are positioning themselves to fail -- then provide them with a plan to change their approach. Hold your team accountable for their errors and hold yourself accountable for their improvement.

While coaching a team is more involved than managing them and can be more taxing, if you do your job well, it also turns out to be much more rewarding.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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