Bring a Super Bowl Coaching Mentality to your Team

While Super Bowl XLVII and its hype have come and gone about as quickly as the lights went out in the stadium, it still provided some intriguing lasting story lines  Perhaps the one that sticks out the most is the brother-coaching dynasty of San Francisco 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh and Baltimore Ravens Coach John Harbaugh.

Behind the smiles during press conferences after a win or the frustration they let out to referees during a game, are two men who understand that to perform as a superior coach, they must have a solid understanding of what it takes to be a leader. John Harbaugh is known to be a fan of motivational quotes. Back in September 2012, John talked with The Baltimore Sun about one of his favorite quotes, which is, “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”

Jim Harbaugh also loves motivational quotes, (can you tell they’re brothers?). He told The Sacramento Bee that the greatest quote he’s ever heard is, “Show class, have pride and display character. And if you do, winning will take care of itself.”

Obviously the Harbaugh brothers take leadership, as coaches, very seriously. As the manager for your company, you should also be serious about coaching.

Coaching skills are necessary for managing and leading in a changing business environment. When we talk about coaching as a manager, we’re specifically addressing the ways managers can help team members succeed by providing mentoring and training. Just like being the coach of a sports team, as the manager at your work, you’re dealing with several teammates and you want to make sure that they “play well” together. One way to achieve this is through exhibiting the skills of good coaching.

If you aren’t currently tapping into any coaching skills, you’re probably perceived as a manager who withholds information and expertise and lets group members “sink or swim” based on their own ingenuity and savvy. While it’s important you give your team the freedom to take control on projects, you still need to be there along the way to provide guidance or help solve any issues that may arise.

When a manager also serves a coach, they help empower others to excel and the direct reports see this manager as an advocate or mentor in their career pursuits. In addition, they probably have actually learned something from their manager, which believe it or not, can be rare in some cases.

There are plenty of ways to help enhance your coaching skills. Look at some of your favorite coaches in sports, past and present, and see how some of their coaching ways could apply to your workforce (as long as it doesn’t involve screaming and kicking chairs).

In addition, here are some other tips to help you out:

  • Sharpen your skills in coaching by working with someone who will give you feedback on your coaching skills.
  • Attend meetings of coaching groups to gain expertise in coaching skills.
  • Hire your own coach for a period of time. Notice what this person does to help you succeed in achieving your goals, and practice using similar methods with your team members when appropriate.
  • Find out about the training and development opportunities available in your organization, and pass this information along to your team members. Encourage team members to participate in these activities, and allow work time for this whenever possible.
  • Identify the weakest performer on your team. Together develop a plan to improve his/her performance, jointly setting the goals. Include regular assessments and rewards for success.

Remember, when you’re a manager that also displays coaching skills, it can be a pretty unbeatable combination.

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