Here’s an idea to help you become a more effective coach. Reading time: 3:19.
“Are you watching your speed…we are,” flashed the digital sign display overhead. The motorist immediately checked her speedometer and instinctively eased up on the accelerator.
That real-time feedback leading to a practiced and well-defined behavioral change is what coaching is all about. Think of an executive coach as your personal 24/7 feedback digital sign display.
Flashing your feedback in real time, your personal or executive coach gives you real-time analysis of what you are doing so that you can make real-time changes to how you are doing it and why.
But too many executives, ensconced in their comfortable corporate suites, think they don’t have the patience or the time to put up with a real-world coach dealing with real issues. In real time.
Beyond the Corporate Car Wash
Those insulated–and isolated– executives would rather spend a few days a year at an Executive Retreat at a swanky resort listening to other smart, creative, intriguing people like themselves share leadership development ideas.
Here’s an idea to reinforce relationships in times of stress. Reading time: 2:49
Your high profile, highly-regarded top employee embarrasses your company –and himself—in a late night fender bender that clearly broke expected rules of behavior. Other employees are lobbying you to make sure you dole out the proper punishment “to serve as an example to all employees,” they say.
Of course you have to enforce the rules. No favoritism. Black and white issue. Done deal.
Not so fast.
That’s why the most effective leaders focus more on the shades of gray. Penalizing without paralyzing future performance.
Consider how Casey Stengel, a gray leader extraordinaire, handled this situation as the manager/leader of The New York Yankees.
It happened during the spring exhibition season a few months after his star performer – Don Larsen – pitched the first (and still the only) perfect game in a World Series. Larsen wrapped his car around a lamppost at 5 am in St. Petersburg, Florida –then known primarily for its high concentration of retirees. Larsen was more embarrassed than hurt.
Newspaper reporters asked Yankee leader/manager Stengel if he was going to fine the star pitcher. Stengel smiled and said: “Anybody who can find something to do at 5 am in St. Petersburg deserves a medal not a fine.”
Stengel diffused the situation with humor when he realized the minimal impact of the situation: no one hurt, minor damage etc. and the opportunity to reinforce his supportive relationship with his star player.