Coaching or micro-managingFriend and fellow consultant and speaker, Donald Cooper and I found out after the fact that we were working independently with “John” a hard driving restaurant entrepreneur. John had rapidly built one restaurant into four highly successful locations with an innovative new concept and his fanatical attention to details. I got involved with helping John after he’d just raised millions of dollars to rapidly expand the chain. I struggled with him for 18 months to help build his leadership team and expand the organization’s capacity for growth. Everything had to go through John. He was working 90 to 100 hour weeks frantically trying to micro manage all the details. It became apparent he wasn’t coachable and wouldn’t change. So I stopped working with him.

Soon after that, he brought Donald in to help him. Fairly quickly Donald saw the problem. He sat in John’s office with two baseball caps. One was beautifully embroidered with the word “PLAYER” and the other with the word “COACH”. Donald told John that every time someone comes into their office, every time his phone rings, and every time he goes into a meeting, he must look at those two hats and ask himself, “Which of these two hats does this business need me to wear, right now?”

John grasped the concept but couldn’t stop himself for being the star player. He never became a coach. About two years later his company went bankrupt.

Coaching really matters. DIY, I-can-do-it-better-myself, managers choke their organization’s growth. Tomorrow we publish my February blogs in our March issues of The Leader Letter. You’ll see some coaching and developing research in this month’s issue. Here are a few “thoughts that make you go hmmm” on growing and developing others:

…when you embrace the role of teacher, you build loyalty, turbocharge your team’s development, and drive superior business performance. Teaching is not merely an “extra” for good managers; it’s an integral responsibility. If you’re not teaching, you’re not really leading.
– Sydney Finkelstein, “The Best Leaders Are Great Teachers,” Harvard Business Review (also author of Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Manage the Flow of Talent)

Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.
– Peter Drucker, author of 39 management books, hundreds of articles, and widely considered to be the father of “modern management”

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
– John Quincy Adams, 6th US president

The most powerful teachers aren’t those who speak, perform and orate with the most dazzle and force. They are those who listen with full body intensity, and customize. Teaching is not one-size fits-all; it’s one-size-fits one.
– Eric Liu, Guiding Lights: The People Who Lead Us Toward Our Purpose in Life

…a common challenge for the leader/manager is to recognize that strength-based coaching is about asking the right questions, not about having all the answers. This is a major shift for some leaders who have been encouraged to believe that leadership is about individual brilliance, not collective endeavor and empowerment of others.
– Doug MacKie, Strength-Based Leadership Coaching in Organizations: An Evidence-Based Guide to Positive Leadership Development

Coaching and developing is also intertwined in what we’ve found to be nine essentials to helping teams and organizations soar. And just as “many roads lead to Rome,” you can view a webinar showing six different approaches to inspiring others.

Hope you’re finding that my blogs help you keep growing.