Oh. John Wooden says a coach is somebody who can give correction without causing resentment as coaches and really a leader ought to be a great coach, we’ve got to be able to help people to level up without having them reject that coaching.
So how do we do that? Right? How do we listen for and lead their growth while having them him do it? So I had this client some years ago. He was a new CEO by the name of Alex. He came to me one day and he said, bill, I think I’ve lost my passion for this work and I don’t think this business is meant for me.
And then he had all this stuff, all these reasons and things like that, why it wasn’t a good fit, and convincing me, helping me to buy into his whole argument. And I listened to everything that he said and it’s really interesting to me.
So I stopped him at some point. I said, hey, this is great. Let’s look at all of this stuff. And he was kind of surprised that I was interested and curious and not just helping him debate this thing.
So I said, when did this change? And he had to peel back a few layers he could figure out look back anyway, after a minute of reflection, what he came up with is that I forget what it was. A couple of weeks earlier, he’d had a particular proposal go badly and it wasn’t that significant at the time.
He didn’t really notice it, but it kind of threw him off. And then he acted like it was no big deal. But inside, mostly subconsciously, he decided that this wasn’t the right business for him, that this was not going to turn out and that he was doomed.
And then he started acting weird around people without even noticing all of this stuff, right? So we’re peeling back this in our coaching conversation. He begins to see this. We come up with a whole new approach.
He gets relit up, he’s got some new actions to take and all that kind of thing, right? But here’s the deal. Throughout this whole thing, this guy’s telling me about any discourages, I’m not like propping him up and saying, come on, you can do it.
That’s what I’m thinking. I’m thinking, come on, you can do this. But what I’m bringing to it, that was really useful at that time, that I always remember to do, and I do when I do a good job as a coach, was to bring curiosity, not negative, gate it or suppress it or try to pump him past it, like, hey, come on, you could do this.
More like, where’s this coming from? What’s going on with this? What happened? Where did you get so bringing curiosity and leaning into the thing that went off really made the difference and that helped him to see himself and ultimately led him to create new approaches and try new approaches that got him back engaged in the business, got the team back behind him and all that.
I’ve talked before about Anthony Nelson at Premier Restoration, Hawaii, who helped take their company from a couple of dozen people to over 160, asked him what great leadership skills he developed along the way, what he most valued about that couple of years that he worked on the business.
And he said, I got really good at developing teams. I could see people, I could help people level up. When I saw somebody who had potential for more, I not only could see that they could do the job, but I could also see what it meant for them in their life.
And then I could fight for that, for that better future for them, for the better house and the better neighborhood, for their kids in better schools. And I knew that I was going to help make that happen because I was going to cause them to grow.
That’s a great coach. A great coach is listening for the growth, seeing the growth in the future of the people that you’re working with beyond what they can see for themselves in any given moment. I hope that’s been helpful for you.
Coaching people is really critical to developing powerful team and powerful leaders, and it’s made a big difference for me. And I hope it is for you also. My name is Bill Gallagher, scaling coach and host of this scaling up business podcast.
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