Coaching and Leadership

Are you the best coach you can be?I am often asked what I do, and I now tell people that I am an environmentalist.  They laugh and look at me for a second or two until I go on and tell them, “Yes, I am an environmentalist because I know after many years of working I have figured out that the most important thing I could do with my authority level and position was to make sure that all Cast Members and Guests had a great environment in which to spend their day at Disney.”

If I can over time (and it takes a long time to create a trusting, inclusive, respectful environment) create that great environment for people, they will do the rest.  They will, in fact, figure out the problems; and they will come up with the solutions.  They will give 110 percent every day if the environment is right.

One thing that contributes to a great long-term, healthy environment is having people who are great coaches within the organization and knowing that this ability is excellent among the leadership.

Great coaches always tell the truth including why a decision was made or why they feel that way about YOU!

Great coaches are observers.  They watch and listen, and then they give you feedback and advice on how to be better.

Trust is a big deal for a coach, so the great coaches always do what they say they are going to do.

Great coaches deliver tough feedback, but they usually are really trusted.  So the recipient accepts the feedback and is not defensive when he or she receives it.

Most great coaches realize that people can improve.  Some can improve more than others, but everyone can get better with great coaching.

The best coaches are usually people who see you performing your work.  They see you in your environment.  They are not coaching you from the corner office without observing in one way or another your current performance.

Great coaches are good listeners and good observers.  They want to make sure that they understand the performance issue before they coach you on how to improve.

Timing is everything in some coaching, so great coaches find the right time and the right circumstances to deliver the coaching.  They understand how to treat people as individuals, and they know that there is a different approach and coaching style for different people.

Great coaches don’t hold back the truth.  They are tough but not hard.  They may give you one dose a day until you are fixed, or they may give you several doses a day depending on their understanding of YOU.

Great coaches make YOU understand that it is YOU who have the power to be better.  They can lead you to the water, but they cannot make YOU drink.  Great coaches have the ability to get you to fire yourself up.

Resistance to coaching or defensiveness does not deter a great coach, just as it did not deter your mother.  Great coaches look at resistance and defensiveness as a challenge and not the end of the road.

Great coaches know what they are good at and what they are not good at and will only coach someone in the area in which they are qualified.  Great coaches will help you find that expert, though, that you need if they cannot help you.  Great coaches won’t abandon you.

Great coaches can see talent that even the person who is being coached cannot see.  It is a gift.

Great coaches—like all great leaders—are always trying to learn new things and to become better at what they do so that they can make more of a difference in people’s lives, which is what really inspires them in the first place.

Work hard to be a great coach.  You will find this helpful in every part of your life.   . . . Lee

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