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There are several kinds of leaders or coaches that you may have encountered during your career. My encouragement to you is to learn from each one.

Which techniques should you duplicate and which should you avoid? The following are 4 types of coaches that you may identify with. Determine where you are and follow the suggestions to improve results.

The “No Show” Coach

This coach doesn’t ever see you in action. He or she is never at the game. They simply give you feedback based on what they hear from others, regardless of the motivation of others. The challenge with this type of coach is that feedback is never real-time and is rarely based on all the facts. At best it is only partially accurate.

To improve results: Make regular contact with your team members. Ask them to describe their experiences if you are not physically able to observe them in action. If there are customers involved, get their direct and unbiased feedback. Do a debrief phone call after meetings or client engagements to ensure that feedback is timely, relevant, and as direct-from-the-source as possible. Engage your team members in self-analyzing their performance then provide your well-informed and constructive feedback to help them build their skills.

The “Sidelines” Coach

This coach gives you lots of constructive feedback, but only once a year…..at review time. Performance is something he or she discusses once a year because HR requires it. Feedback is often based on either recent or critical incidents and is not a fair representation of overall performance.

To improve results: Make note of and discuss performance on a monthly or at a minimum, quarterly basis. This will let your team know that you are engaged and interested in their success. Make sure that feedback fairly represents your team’s performance. Give feedback because you want to help your team succeed, not because you have to.

The “Game Day” Coach

This coach is there for the action, but never there for practice. There is no input other than in the heat of the action. There is no feedback on your practice or preparation. No encouragement or suggestions when getting ready for that customer presentation. Your feedback comes real-time but is mixed along with feedback for the entire team.

To improve results: Get in there and get your hands dirty. Get involved in preparing for the next big client presentation. Make sure that your team has not only practiced, but has practiced doing things right. After the engagement, give some one-on-one time to your team members to discuss their individual performance, balancing your feedback. Get their insights on what they can do to improve then provide your own coaching.

The “Show” Coach

This coach is at every practice and every game. He or she desires to help each team member be all that they can be. He or she uses lots of questions to help each player self-discover their strengths and weaknesses. They demonstrate or show you successful techniques and practice with you until you have mastered the activity. They love seeing the progress in each player during practice, coaching session, and the game. They help each team member discover what is possible and help them achieve more than they thought possible.

So what kind of coach are you? If you find that you need help stepping up your game, give me a whistle. I would love to help you become a more effective coach!