From Manager, to Leader, to Organizational Coach

1. Management – employees need order and habits, before everything

One good and simple definition of management is this: “the activities of setting the strategy of an organization and coordinating the efforts of its employees to accomplish its objectives through the application of available resources”.

Management is key for the success of an organization; finding the best strategic choice for advancing, establishing a clear path and clear responsibilities that go to each person or team, establishing a standard for how activities will be performed – these elements strongly increase the probability of achieving the company’s objectives and offer a frame of certainty inside which people and teams operate.

For an employee with management responsibilities, the management knowledge and skills are crucial, they are the next to be learned right after the technical skill specific for the function. A good management is a strong base and ensures an important part of the success of the team, on the path to reaching the objectives.

Human psychological studies indicate that a rigorous repetitive sequence of (constructive) activities during the day (among the random ones) enhances mental balance and builds up positive energy. Knowing what they have to do and how, employees feel comfortable and better focus on their work.

2. Leadership – employees want to be appreciated and serve something “bigger”

Leadership is the art of inspiring and influencing people to achieve high value goals. Leadership is not about technical, analytical or planning skills, even if today, working with the knowledge-age employees, a leader needs to build a strong personal strength base, starting with extended range of know-how and skills and ending with developing an open attitude, an inquisitive/curious spirit. Even if the leader is not an expert in all fields of knowledge related to his function, he or she must have a good grasp/understanding of the essence of all activities his team unfolds, of course. Just that the Leader’s true value starts being noticed once we go beyond these.

The leader’s core role is composed from a set of attitudes & aptitudes: being the living memory of the organization regarding its mission/reason for existence; relentlessly looking for a long term vision, that constantly challenges the status quo; making sure that everyone feels included and valued and want to contribute to the achievements of the group; observing internal & external changes, guiding the organization to adapt and keep a sustainable position; keep all the companies values alive and build a strong & healthy culture; ensure the transition & legacy between generations.

Leadership includes management, but goes one step up, addingto the business the inner motivation vibe and the certainty of sustainability.

Knowing where they are heading, what is the reason behind daily activity and knowing that they are valued inside a strong & wise family, employees feel respected, motivated and focus on critical goals.

3. Coaching – employees want to grow and “give their best”

Coaching is a top approach in leadership. Coaching is the art of supporting people to discover their potential and achieve it at outstanding levels. Coaching increases the value of human resources of the organization and gets substantially better business results by doing so.

Every manager/leader, once receiving larger responsibilities by being promoted, somewhere deep in the subconscious starts having a feeling of superiority vs. his/her team members; in a way, logical, given the higher level of expertise, experience & results that propelled the leader to the position. This makes some leaders feel entitled and eager to share their knowledge, to give advice, to “channel” or even rule their people’s activity and decisions.

Only that the universal laws apply in management too: the very moment when we take over our department, the world is under change; someone else gets better too, someone has a good revolutionary idea, someone discovers valuable knowledge in a workshop or book, or simply on the internet. Suddenly, I am not the wisest person in the room anymore, or at least not in all/most respects.

People nowadays like to model/copy a valuable leader (it’s a fast way to grow), but they like to choose who they perceive as valuable and select what they want to take from that person. People today cherish freedom of choice more than before: “let us decide if we want to learn from you and what”. Today’s employees want to learn from practice, by failing if necessary, so they want to make their own decisions regarding the things that stay in their responsibility. Can you help? Can you “softly” guide? That’s what they expect from you. Work for them is not just a mean for existence or security, it is a realm of exploration and constant learning/development.

And what do you want? Sober workers complying to a well thought plan, stable but inflexible, focused, but on a “narrow point”? Or you want free pro-active and creative people, supporting your leadership as “partners”, taking responsibility along with you, for all: past, present and future?

Coaching builds the second kind of employees. Coaching quenches the thirst for self-development, satisfies the need to become a valuable member of a successful group. It sheds light on the hidden resources of individuals, it “dusts them off” and puts them into play. Coaching offers every employee the attention and respect that humans need to bloom.

In terms of team’s view angle, coaching opens people to healthy working relationships.

It is a difficult discipline, but once mastered, it pays off exponentially. It helps leaders and teams to over-achieve constantly.

With coaching, employees feel that they are a company important asset, that their ideas and opinion matter. When they understand that by constant self-development and others-development, they can (positively) “shake” performance, they bring passion into their work. Nothing can break or stop you and your team anymore.

Written by Adrian Barbu

Adrian Barbu has 15 years of experience as business consultant, trainer and coach, supporting over time more than one hundred Fortune 500 companies as well as many startups. Before consulting, Adrian worked at Board level for several top multinational companies, in Sales, Marketing and Business Development. Also, he lead an EU and a Global board of a global professional association with 500 members, MSPA. Adrian has an MBA Degree from the Univesity of Toulouse and is a Certified Executive Coach – CLI Canada, ICF / ACSTH accredited.


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