One of the greatest ironies I have experienced in my career is that the gifts and skills that make a great company leader don’t necessarily make a great developer of talent. In other words, the Head Coach! Based upon debriefing close to a thousand behavioral assessments with all types of leaders I have learned that their strengths are often times the opposite of those needed to be an effective coach. Developing others through coaching takes patience, listening skills, and empathy. Adjectives not often used with leaders who have the perseverance and drive to beat all odds in building and leading a business.

From my experience, one of the greatest challenges faced by most leaders is that they are not naturally wired to be good at coaching. I have struggled with coaching and development in my own company. In order to be an effective coach, I have to force myself to slow down, listen and set aside specific time for development.

Many of us have had the awesome opportunity to coach our kids in sports while they were growing up. Perhaps your kids are young enough that you are still coaching their teams. As a coach, you had regular practice and drills to help the youngsters get better. If you didn’t, you probably would not have been invited back the next year. Coaching in your business isn’t any different. It takes continuous work to coach your team to higher performance. Organizations that understand this increase employee performance through coaching and development. When you do that, increased productivity and profitability will soon follow.

In today’s business environment, developing the talent in your organization is not an option but a requirement. Knowing this, we must take the responsibility to create a culture of coaching and development in our organizations. Here are several ideas on how to do that:

  • It all starts with you. Understand your style and be transparent about your growth opportunities. Be real about who you are.
  • Lead by example by getting yourself a coach and a development plan.
  • Share your personal experiences, learning and knowledge openly with others.
  • Educate yourself and your team on how to coach so it becomes a discipline across the organization. Use books, seminars, executive briefings, and personal coaching to do this.
  • Center your coaching around an individual development plan (template at
  • Ensure that the process of coaching is sustainable in your organization. At SM Advisors, my coaches serve on my Board of Advisors so I meet with them consistently.
  • Consider building the organizational development expertise in your company or human resources department.
  • Make sure there is one person who is responsible for talent development in your company. If not you, then who?
  • Set aside individual time for each person whom you coach and make sure that both of you are well prepared for your time together. Implementing a development plan together and using the action plan register make this process much easier and more successful.
  • Coaching is about team and personal breakthroughs that make the effort and patience well worth it. This is truly the most rewarding aspect of my profession.

Make the decision today to take the necessary actions to become the head coach of your team or organization. If you do, I am confident that you will experience many professional and personal victories. Remember, Those Who Plan – PROFIT!