No Time to Coach
“Our first-line leaders have way too much on their plates to spend time coaching.” This complaint comes from practically every company we work with.
We get this response when we suggest that a critical element in improving team performance is the first-line leader’s ability to provide meaningful direction and feedback to each team member. Success, however, in this endeavor is complicated by three factors:
- Many first-line leaders are promoted to their positions because they demonstrated a high degree of competence in their primary role. In other words, they are promoted for being a top performer not because they are necessarily ready to lead other performers.
- Most top performers have become “unconsciously competent” at what they do. So though they are proven, consistent performers, they typically are not able to easily describe the essential elements of how they have been able to achieve success.
- When there is clear ability to perform and an equally clear challenge in explaining to others how to exceed, the result is the familiar first-line leader response of, “It’s just easier to do it myself.” Doing it yourself is, of course, a time-consuming approach.
These factors combine to create a dissonance that stands in the way of strong, meaningful coaching conversations between first-line leaders and their teams. This dissonance manifests itself through the fundamental problem statement that, “Our first-line leaders have way too much on their plates to spend time coaching.”
When this problem statement is juxtaposed against another common concern, we frequently hear, “Our teams are not performing the way we need them to, and we think we have a major gap in our first-line leader talent pipeline.” This mindset creates one of the most pressing conundrums in business today. Left unsolved, this issue undermines daily operational performance, execution of new or evolving strategies, and the fundamental talent pipeline critical to growth and expansion.
We will present viable options to this challenge in our outcomes-based coaching series.
Question to ponder:
- How are you or your company currently equipping your front-line leaders to successfully address their responsibility for the overall performance and growth of their teams?