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Managers:  Are you a Doer or a Coach?

September 30, 2013, by Stephanie Messier | Performance Management

A manager can approach his or her role in one of two ways:  Coach or Doer.  Managers typically focus on their tasks first and then any time leftover is spent managing others.  Few ever focus solely or spend the majority of their time on managing.  Why?  The simple answer is that it is easier to deal with the tasks than with the human being! 

The key difference between being a Coach and a Doer is where a manager focuses his or her attention. 

  • The Doer:  The Doer tends to go first to the things they themselves have to do and to the areas of greatest comfort.  Doers, as a result, tend to function as technical experts or senior individual contributors.  Doers put much less emphasis on how people are performing which is often out of their comfort zone.   Doers also tend to operate on a day-to day or short-term basis and are often more crisis-driven.  Seldom, unless something goes wrong, will a doer provide positive feedback or vague praise.  And finally, many Doers avoid dealing with issues that are outside their comfort zone.

  • The Coach:  The Coach understands the need for having goals and how to achieve them.  Their coaching process starts with an objective in mind followed by the understanding of what needs to be accomplished. It can be a learning objective or a performance improvement objective, which can be the improvement of an action or behaviour.  The Coach serves as an accountability partner supporting the employee in reaching her or his goal.   The Coach understands the importance of the relationship with his employee and invests the time in supporting growth.  The Coach addresses issues in a timely way with a solutions-oriented approach, involving his or her employee in the process through engaging questions and active listening.

I always suggest to managers to spend at least 70% of their time in developing their team using coaching techniques.  These techniques can be as simple as asking questions to understand their employees’ thinking process, engaging them through active listening and make them feel like they are making an important contribution to the team and your business.

How much time are you spending being the Doer versus being the Coach?

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