Des Moines Business Record Ð February 18, 2002


Bosses Are Out Ð Managers As Coaches Are In


By Pam N. Woods


There is a new trend taking hold in business today which translates into amazing productivity, results, and a happier workforce.  ItÕs easy, positive, and some say transformative; best of all, itÕs something you and every other individual charged with the responsibility for getting results through others can learn to do.  It isÉcoaching people instead of managing them.


Coaching is a skill, style, and way of being which emanates from the root value of caring for oneÕs self and others.  WouldnÕt you agree - you are more centered, motivated, and productive in an environment where you know others sincerely care about your growth and development, not just what you can do for them?  If youÕre ready for more success and break-through results, commit to mastering some of a coachÕs skills and characteristics:


á      Create a co-active partnership with employees.  There is no room for a hierarchy here.  View employees as equals, embrace diversity, and utilize dialogue and inquiry, which tap the knowledge of each individual, to develop strategies/solutions.  You will find employees are motivated to contribute because they have ownership in the solution and an opportunity to express their unique gifts, talents, and passions.   

á      Be a guide.  Share your knowledge experience, ideas and wisdom to support employees in moving forward personally and professionally.  Understand that what worked for you may or may not be right for another, and only what resonates as meaningful or insightful will be absorbed and applied.       

á      Use positive language.  Words have the power to change your life and change your mood in a flash Ð no kidding.  Just listen to the words people use in the next couple of days, notice what is being said on TV, radio, conversations around you, and what you say.  Explore the quality of your words and the energy behind them.  Are they positive and expanding or negative and contracting?  Understand the power of language and use words that are affirmative and compassionate.

á      Listen.  When was the last time you were really heard and felt safe enough to say it all?   Give your full attention to each employee.  No multi-tasking, judging, rushing to fill the pause or presupposing an outcome allowed.  Use your intuition and all your other senses to hear the words and tone of what the employee is and is not saying. 

á      Be honest and caring in your communications.  DonÕt step over anything.  Look for achievements to compliment and keep employees advised of pertinent organizational information and expectationsÉthey need this to effectively do their jobs.  Remember, employees canÕt change what they donÕt know - share performance improvement feedback in a humane and constructive way as soon as possible. 

á      Model life long learning and encourage self-development in others.  You likely want more success, money, balance, happiness, etc.  Chances are your employees do too.  Support each in their individual quest to continually learn and grow to be their best.

á      Build a strong personal foundation.  Be sure the infrastructure supporting your own life is strong and healthy.  Take care of any unfinished business from the past and donÕt waste energy worrying about the future, it may never come to pass.  Live fully in the present, surround yourself with a loving family, a community of friends, get your financial and protective reserves in place, and make time for fun and self-care.  


Imagine yourself as the catalyst, your team as the source, and your company as the benefactor of greater productivity, improved working relationships, better-quality customer service, and higher levels of employee satisfaction and retentionÉlearn to be a coach in the workplace. 


Pam is an executive, business and personal coach.  She can be reached at or 515-225-2479.



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