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#2 Defining Characteristics of Great Coaching

Characteristic 2:  Knowledgeable

A coach knows each team member’s position  - bosses do their job first
A successful coach takes the time to define how each task a team member does fits into the big picture of profitability. Just like in sports, a coach knows the playbook. They have standard plays and a couple of trick plays when things are not going right. Because the coach studies the game they know the responsibilities of each of the people on their team. They can get maximum performance out of the players that typically would not perform, because they can break down the position to fundamental basics. They can work on the basics with each employee until they master the required skill to be productive.  

A successful coach knows the rules, better than anyone else. It is important to know the mission statement, vision statement, values statement, handbook, policies and procedures manuals.  Knowing the rules allows you to remain firm but fair. It also allows you to know when someone is not following the rules for correction. I once had a football coach that required us to run 30 laps when we had more than 15 yards in penalties in any game. This policy that was formed around the games rule book helped our team to perform better and follow the rules in the process.    

A successful coach utilizes any mistake as a teaching opportunity. Just as my coach used the game's rule violation as a teaching opportunity to understand good technique, you must coach your staff to have good business techniques and disciplines. Don’t dwell on the business mistake, focus on the correction and the positive outcome you expect in the future. Make it a habit not to make the same mistake twice. Your people with typically be hard on themselves. Try to be a pressure relief valve and not a pressure cooker. Help your team to fail forward, as John Maxwell would say.
 7 Defining Characteristics of Great Coaching can be found in my book, "Leadership Coaching as a Strategy for Employee Development." This can be downloaded for FREE at


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