To Be an Outstanding Leader, Act Like a Coach

To Be an Outstanding Leader, Act Like a Coach 150 150 Jennifer Ledet

As a leadership expert, coaches fascinate me because if they are a really great leader, they can get players to perform in ways that even the players themselves didn’t know they could do. While watching my kids play sports when they were growing up and supporting the team, I always enjoyed observing the coaches.

While watching my kids in sports, I was reminded of some outstanding leaders that I’ve known throughout my career and how they acted, in many ways, like a coach. Think about an influential boss or leader who had a tremendous impact on you. I’ll bet they, too, served as a coach.

Business, like sports, is a team effort, and to succeed, we need each player/team member to give their best. Outstanding coaches don’t just have a technical knowledge of the game/business, they have a gift for inspiring others.

Here are six things that outstanding coaches know and practice …

  • Each “player” has unique talents and gifts and we should encourage them to play to those strengths. What a waste not to capitalize on each player’s natural abilities and assets!
  • A word of praise goes so much farther than criticism. You may have to look hard to find something to praise, but it will be well worth your effort. Can you remember a mentor complimenting you? Suddenly your posture got straighter and you wanted to live up to those positive words. The same happens with your team members.
  • It’s not important to “put in” what was “left out” of your players; It’s important to draw out what was left in. Find ways to tap into your team members’ inner greatness. Draw out the best that they have to give.
  • Sharing the credit for team success builds everyone’s self-confidence, pride, and trust.
  • They are being watched! Successful leaders know that they must first model the way for their players.
  • Losing one game or making one mistake does not make the player a loser. Successful coaches use those temporary setbacks as teaching moments.

Do you measure up as a leader, a boss, or an executive? I’m sure we can all use some practice in this area. Be prepared, though, because serving as a great coach is a job where you will receive as much in return as you give.

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Jennifer Ledet, CSP, is a leadership consultant and professional speaker (with a hint of Cajun flavor) who equips leaders from the boardroom to the mailroom to improve employee engagement, teamwork, and communication.  In her customized programs, leadership retreats, keynote presentations, and breakout sessions, she cuts through the BS and talks through the tough stuff to solve your people problems.

Photo by Musiena • on Reshot

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