Leaders as Coaches: Our Strategic Assets

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The success of an organization is all about managing employee performance through Leaders as Coaches. If employees perform, organizations perform; sadly the reverse proposition is also true. It is essential for the top echelons of every organization to realize that they need to focus on performance coaching if they wish to succeed in this globally competitive (Volatile,  Uncertain, Complex & Ambiguous) VUCA environment.

The first paradigm that needs to change is ‘lateral hiring is a route to success.’ I see far too many teams not stabilizing and remaining in the space of the “forming stage” owing to continuous churn. In this world of VUCA, “strategic people-asset” management is the basis for every success. I have known a lot many organizations hiring workforce every-time they experience a churn, not realizing the turbulent culture that it manifests. In reality, it is also possible that the more you recruit, the more work you need to create for which you need to hire all the more. This ultimately creates a flab at all layers of the Pyramid which results in the loss of business agility. You thus have two kinds of employees one who generates wealth and the others who consume wealth. If you do not adequately control this, you will be obsolete. The law of diminishing returns will take its own course for sure.

The second paradigm is ‘activity does not necessarily create success.’ We have a lot many employees who are sincere and hardworking, and we do take an empathetic viewpoint. It is imperative to mention here that it is the results that are important and not action alone. Some people may be very busy doing their work but may not be delivering the desired results. Organizations succeed when employees deliver the desired results ethically.

The question then arises as to ‘how do we ensure our employees become performance-oriented?’.  The answers lie below and may be of interest to one and all:

  • Organizations need to focus on both functional skills and behavioral competencies. Competencies are behavioral attributes of success in scenarios of business challenges. If an organization only focuses on skill development, it may just create employees who will deliver in routine tasks. It thus becomes imperative to develop a competency grid for employees to understand the model that produces success.
  • Develop high potential managers as Coaches. Gone are the days of continually hiring “ready” managers laterally. We need leaders who are Master Coaches. Leadership is all about aiding and supporting performance. We need leaders who can coach their subordinates in critical skills and competencies. This ensures an eternal talent pipeline.
  • Introduce the element of performance coaching. Do not permit short-run performance. Leaders must coach teams for long-run VUCA challenges. The best must be paid the best. Fast track your best, develop them train them to be coaches.
  • Employee development must become a key focus area. It is not a cost; its an essential investment. Focus on both skills and competencies. Let learning not become a luxury time or a gift. It must result in employee performance. Each employee must be made accountable for change in behavior at the end of each stage of development.
  • Ensure your employees get feedback & feedforward on a regular basis. Feedback undoubtedly improves performance however feedforward is more powerful. Developmental Feedback & feedforward must be done regularly based on situational evidence. It must become a part of your culture.
  • Set clear objectives for the year and review them. Managers must discuss real accomplishments and aid in their achievements. Develop an annual behavioral plan. Leaders as coaches must then take the responsibility of ensuring that these behaviors become practiced habits.
  • Do competency-based performance appraisals. The accomplishment of a target does not necessarily mean promotion. Promote only competent people who are role models in the real sense. This will help your business grow.
  • Differential salaries based on performance surely help. Let salary be split into a fixed and a variable component. Variables for performance must be more than adequate. After all, performance must be well rewarded.
  • Weed out your toxic performers. This will help competencies mature in your organization. If the competencies don’t evolve, your best of today may be the average performers of tomorrow. But that is the truth of performance. If people do not scale up, they will be obsolete. Jobs must be rotated in line with the competencies displayed.

Lastly and, most importantly, retain only the ones who have a good value system. Nurture them and develop them. Get rid of people who compromise on values even if they are performers. Clean your organization of political enthusiasts and nurture Authentic Leadership.

The above is possible only if a culture of coaching for performance sets into the organization. The call of the day is to nurture Transformational Leadership through sidecoachEmotional Intelligence. Leaders who aid triggering the neurons by creating successful neural pathways through positive emotional attractors are the key to organizational success. Neuroscience of Leadership is an integral part of evolving as a leader. The transactional leadership of yesteryears is an old paradigm.

The empirical formula of 70:20:10 is the dimension of performance coaching. 70% is learned in real-time at work; 20% is the Manager’s Coaching input, and the critical 10% is through training initiatives.

We are now a part of a global economy. Only the best will sustain. Manage your employee performance through internal Coaches & Mentors and reap rich dividends.

I end with the critical question, “How many Coaches have you created and nurtured in your organization?” After all, if no game worth its value is ever won without a Coach, then how can the game of business be won without coaches.






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