Tag Archives: coaching

1 Thing Coaching Kids Taught Me About Management

Most people do better with carrots than sticks. I just posted 3 best ways to reward people on your team over at Up and Running. As I wrote that, it reminded me of this. One thing I learned by coaching kids soccer.

coaching praising incentives motivation kids soccer flickr cc

Try this: To manage people in business, helping them to perform better, try emphasizing what they’re doing right, and celebrating that, instead of constantly criticizing what they’re doing wrong.

Of course you have to use common sense to make that work. Don’t go to extremes. People have to have real information about performance and problems. But seriously, are you repeating the bad news too often? And, if you are, is that working for you?

I had eight years of coaching little kids in soccer. Some kids were naturals and led the team and that was cool. But for those who weren’t so gifted, didn’t want to get the ball, or in some cases didn’t want to give the ball up, I learned to wait until they (even if it was accidentally) did the right thing. Then I’d shout that up to the skies. And, at the same time, I stopped steadily, constantly, repeatedly urging them to be more aggressive, or pass, or whatever.

With some kids it took patience, waiting for them to do the right thing. But it paid off big time when they did.

And I learned, running a business, that this basic principal applies to grownups as well as it does to little kids. Do you agree?

(photo credit: sean dreilinger via photopin cc)

Read This Before Hiring a Coach or Consultant

May I call it the expert business? It’s kind of like a zoo (no offense intended). There are coaches of all varieties, from business to life to style, to executive and leadership and others. And management consultants, planning consultants, strategy consultants, marketing consultants, public relations consultants, etc. And designers and programmers, project managers, event planners, graphic artists … I’ve been both seller and buyer, and I’m thinking I can help you figure out which section to go to, and which cage to rattle, by sorting through some of the species, and some of the differences.

I worry that people use these terms indiscriminately. To me, a coach teaches you to do it better, helps you, and trains you to do things better. A consultant delivers a report telling you what you’re supposed to do.

A coach watches you do it, then reviews your performance. A consultant studies, listens, concludes, and delivers the conclusions.

Can you tell I lean towards coaching? Maybe because I made a living consulting for 20 years, both on my own and as an employee of brand-name firms. And in my specialty, business planning, having it done for you doesn’t work. It’s like paying somebody to do your exercise. Coaching is more likely to work better. I’ve done strategy consulting, and that’s very similar. Strategies are to develop and implement yourself, over a long term. A coach might help, a consultant, not so likely. I’m immersed in social media, and I think that’s another example of something you so yourself, ideally, rather than have done for you; which means it’s another area for coaching more than consulting. And PR? Maybe you have somebody do the press releases, and arrange the meetings, and suggest tips and techniques, but do you believe in anything actually said by a spokesperson?

Ideally, you look for a relationship in which you are buying, and paying for, just the expertise. Pay the expert to coach you as you do it yourself. You pay for fewer hours, but you still get the benefit of somebody else’s experience and expertise. That’s the best of both worlds.

(Note: as the conceptual author of Business Plan Pro software, I’m completely biased on this point, but I’m amazed that any business plan coaching or consulting relationship doesn’t include two copies of business plan software, one for coach and one for client. That empowers the client, who has to own the plan to implement it, and focuses the consulting work on coaching, not doing. Both sides win.)

(image: REDMIRAGE/Shutterstock)