Coaching is a Daily Practice

Contributed by Chuck Carey, the president and co-founder, Troika Design Group, based in Hollywood, California.

When the Los Angeles Lakers won the 2010 NBA Finals, why did celebrated coach Phil Jackson sit on the sidelines while his players celebrated on the court? Why does a baseball coach stay in the dugout when their team leaps onto the field after a win?

From Shakespeare to Eastern philosophy, great minds have said for centuries that true leaders operate behind the scenes, away from the fame. As the co-founder and president of a design and branding company, it is also my chief responsibility to quietly set up my team for success.

For the past nine years, I have worked on developing a coach’s appetite for patience and process. This enlightenment has been dawning on me in the most significant way this past year. I have realized that patience also works in reverse; that is, impatience works against leadership. I cannot maintain the same effectiveness with my employees if one is disgruntled. So, I try to find employees that fit the company culture and who are able to maintain a patient attitude throughout their career.

Star Player?
When interviewing for a key role, we spend time searching for a perfect match. Inevitably, though, we sense a degree of impatience in the candidates. With impatience, questions arise:

  • Will he/she fit with the company’s culture?
  • Will he/she want more influence than we are comfortable with?
  • Does he/she have one foot in and one foot out the door?
  • Is he/she looking to help grow our business, or does he/she just want improve his/her personal situation?

I don’t resent the answer to any of these questions. It is, however, ill-advised to hire a key player whose motivations are not aligned with a company’s overall value system. It works against leadership. Since I came to this realization, I have implemented more patience throughout the hiring process.

View from the Dugout
By using the previous questions in the hiring process, I have been able to create a highly engaged team that has sustained my business for 10 years running. A Towers Watson study recently found that, “companies with a highly engaged employee population turned in significantly better financial performance.” When it comes down to it, business success is predicated on the people you employ. Great thinkers have helped me realize that coaching is a daily practice. Along with the occasional error or championship game, coaching is a reward unto itself.

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