Transform Economic Anxiety Into Progress and Growth

If you’ve heard me speak in a seminar or you’re one of my executive coaching clients, you know that I believe effective leaders are great coaches. 

Leadership changes attitudes, but coaching changes behavior! 

My colleague and co-author of COACHING THE BEST TO BE GREAT seminar, Dr. Michael O’Connor says, “Without effective coaching, past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior for most people.”

People get trapped in comfort zones and unproductive patterns of behavior if their thinking and actions are not challenged in a constructive way.  Effective leaders know this and engage their people through consistent coaching that changes behavior for positive outcomes. 

The current economic turmoil is causing anxiety in your people at a time when you need them to be at their best.  So, the opportunity for you is to transform that anxiety into strategic growth, increased marketshare and personal achievement.  How is this possible, you ask?  It is possible if you coach your best performers to see what’s possible and to challenge the obstacles.

“Giving people self-confidence is by far the most important thing that I can do.  Because then they will act.”   Jack Welch

What I hear Jack saying in this quote is that action is the result of effectively coaching people to be confident in themselves and their abilities.

Do you need your people to act in creative, innovative ways that produce great solutions to problems and outstanding business results?  Coach them to leverage their strengths and be confident in doing so. 

It is really interesting to observe the different approaches leaders are taking to deal with this crisis.  I have observed some becoming less visible while others are more visible.  Some communicate openly about the state of business and others think sharing how things really are would be too difficult for people to handle.  Some leaders have a “sky is falling” outlook and others are choosing not to participate in the recession.  Regardless of where you might be, one thing is for sure, your people need to know that you have confidence in their ability to deal with the challenges and setbacks. 

In my Player-Coach Leader model I have identified the willingness to confront people at their level of performance as the first and most critical step for leaders who want to be good coaches.  Confronting does not have to be negative.  Effective confronting for performance is anchored in a genuine commitment to the coachee’s success. 

“The goal of effective confronting is to raise the player’s awareness of his or her performance – to heighten attention to areas of strength and opportunity.”   (Player-Coach Leader :Leverage the Talent Around You, p. 86) 

Confronting involves three basic actions:

1.  Active observation.  I am always amazed by the leader who does not pay attention to the behavior of his key players.  As leader, the willingness to be engaged extends beyond your daily operating tasks…it’s about knowing how you’re people react to critical situations and caring enough to coach them to respond in a way that is most appropriate for success.

2.  Direct explanation.  Explain the outcomes you expect from your team in very simple and plain terms.  Then actively monitor their progress.  I’ve had leaders say to me, “I pay these people enough to know what is expected of them and to know what to do.”  That might be true in theory, but when it comes to human behavior you are dealing with emotional variables that make such a position unrealistic. 

3.  Constructive messaging.  Acknowledge what is good and right about the players current approach, but follow it with additional approaches that might be more effective.  Some people only have one gear or one way of viewing the world.  Effective leaders who coach develop the skills of showing a better way.

Make this economic downturn work to your advantage by coaching your team to breakthrough performance.

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04-15-09

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