The word “coaching” is starting to be used so often these days that it is truly losing it’s meaning and effectiveness. Too many mangers/leaders are using the word in an attempt to separate themselves. Words and phrases, however, do nothing to separate those who can and do from everyone else. ACTION is the thing that does that! Below are several actions that you as a business leader can do to stop talking it and to start walking it-Become a Coach to your people and they will be your people for long, long time: Always be Looking for and Drafting Top Talent As a coach, you want to give your team the right staff of players so that they can consistently win in the marketplace. The best coaches realize that they must always be looking for and recruiting new stars to their teams.

New players keep the team fresh and on their toes. New players to the team may replace existing non-productive players or may help to drive those existing players to new levels of productivity. A coach never grows his team just for the sake of growing it. It doesn’t always take more players to win-just more of the right players. A coach is always looking for the key players to add to his team to help bring it to the next level. A good coach also realizes that players do leave and go to other teams. It is not a matter of if they do-many times it is just when. It is because of this that the coach always has a list of potential new recruits that he has had communication with. These recruits are already playing the game on another team and are typically proven stars. They are in a process (whether they know it or not) of being courted and recruited to our coach’s team.

There are always new stars in the recruiting basket of the coach. He is always looking for talent. He realizes that recruiting is a process, not an event. Set Expectations Up Front The coach brings every member onto his team with open eyes. He works very hard to set mutual expectations up front with his new players. He makes sure that his players know that he will expect big things from them-that they will work harder on his team than they ever have anywhere else in the past-that they will be measured and held accountable to always be improving and bettering themselves-that they will be held to the highest standards of professionalism-that they are the most important people in the company and should regard what it is they do as such-that FUN is not a four letter word-and that Attitude + Skills + Activity will be the formula that they will grow by on this team.

The coach also sets the expectations that his players have of him and the company right up front as well. He allows the players to “hold his feet to the fire” on issues such as attitude, communication, measurement, training, field coaching, etc. All new players know very clearly what their plans are and what they can expect upon completion of all assigned tasks. The team knows that the coach will be held accountable to help them reach their goals. The coach will not let down any of his players when it comes to making sure that they do the things necessary to reach their own individual goals. The key to this is making sure that all expectations are set in advance of beginning the relationship so that there is mutual accountability to winning! The best players in this world respect solid discipline and accountability from their coach. Getting to hear this up front only helps attract the winners and scare away those who won’t fit on the team. Always Have a Clear Plan for Every Player The best coaches always make sure that every player on their team has a very clear and defined game plan to success. They realize that “focus precedes success” and if they can keep their players focused on their key roles in the outcome for the team, that each player would have a much better chance of winning.

The teams that consistently win do so because they have a very clear plan that is broken into individual responsibilities. A coach will make sure that his players know what to do from the time that they come into the office in the morning until the time they leave at night. Additional thought from a player only leads to distraction from his game plan. A good coach goes the extra mile in explaining each individual game plan to his players. For example, a great sales coach makes sure that his people know what time they are expected to be in, what the sales meeting will encompass, what materials to have for the meeting, what time the meeting will end, what time they will begin their sales prospecting for the day, where their leads will come from, what they will say on the phones, how to overcome the objections they may hear, what the goal of every call is, how many calls they are responsible for making, how many appointments they should attend during the day, what the goal of those appointments are, what they are measured on etc. etc. etc. A good coach leaves nothing to chance. A good coach works with his people individually on their game plans so that he can improve his players’ skills as well as their need for personal expertise. A good coach realizes that a player without a plan has no way to mark his/her successes as they come. Always be Training, Teaching, Guiding, Coaching The essence of a coach should be in being a teacher, a mentor, a leader. The best coaches are the ones who are on the field with their players every day working with them on their skills.

The best coaches schedule time every day for training of their people. The skills necessary for success must be taught and practiced regularly. People do not learn these things intuitively. Coaches realize that most players, given the choice, would rather not practice their skills. This is not to say that they do not want to succeed. They merely will take the past of least resistance most times. (It is human nature.) It is important for salespeople to do what it is that their coach wants them to do-but even more important that his people WANT to do what he wants them to do. Therefore, it is equally important that, as coaches, we work hard on showing those on our teams that it is part of the entire culture to train, practice and perform every day. The best teams in history did not stop practicing because they started winning-they did not stop practicing because they got some good players. Solid coaching requires a discipline towards constant improvement and the catalyst for that is the coach. Constantly Building and Strengthening Relationships Even the best players do not respond if there is no trust. A good coach realizes that it may take months-even years to build a solid foundation of trust but only moments to destroy it. Coaching sometimes requires tough choices. Good coaches always make sure that the choices they make do not compromise the trust that they have built.

Good coaches realize that it isn’t always about being the nice guy-but is about being fair and honest with the entire team. Solid relationships are built on communication. Good coaches recognize when there may be challenges in advance and work hard to communicate their way into overcoming them. If there is not a solid culture based upon communication, it is very difficult to even recognize the challenges, and thus, almost impossible to cure the problem. Taking the time to forge solid relationships with his people is one of the things that a great coach does best. People will walk through fire for a leader they believe in. People tend to trust and believe in those who trust and believe in them. This goes beyond words. Again, it comes down to the actions that the coach takes part in. What of the above things do you think that you need to work on MOST as a leader of your team? Take action NOW and start coaching!

About the Author: Gerry Layo is one of the nation’s most dynamic and sought after speakers offering world-class keynote addresses, seminars, and workshops throughout North America. Gerry offers his audiences 20 years of street-tested, no-nonsense business experience. Gerry can be reached at 1-888-298-6868 or

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