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Lead Your Team Managing

Coaching Your Startup Team For Wins

Steve Pogorzelski, CEO of ClickFuel, contributed this article to BusinessNewsDaily's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

Just as sports coaches help athletes win big games by empowering them to take advantage of their natural abilities and improve on their weaknesses, business coaches can also help their teams improve individual performances so the entire organization wins. With startups, the results of quality coaching quickly become apparent as their leaders' guidance can drive companies to either take off or flop. If you want to take your startup team to the major leagues, consider adopting the following coaching philosophy and let it guide your actions: coaching is a gift and it should be given and received in that spirit.

Below are four tips on how to give the gift of coaching effectively:

  • Make your intentions known: Ensure that all parties involved know and understand that coaching is a gift. Doing so will help create a trusting relationship between the coach and coached. This allows advice to be given in a non-offensive manner and taken in a non-defensive way. If both parties understand that the coach is giving this feedback without politics in mind and because she sincerely wants her mentee to do well, it creates an environment where the mentee feels comfortable taking risks and sharing feedback.
  • Understand that good people push you up, not out: As a business leader, understand that your success relies on the success of your team. Individual wins are also wins for the entire organization, and coaches should not worry about their mentees' good performance outshining their own. When your mentee does well, it reflects well on you; it does not push you out.
  • Reinforce positive behavior, while pointing out areas of improvement: Coaching is more than just telling someone what they are doing well on a project or task and how to keep doing it well. It's about eliminating weaknesses, which is done by giving honest feedback on how to do the project or task better. A Little League Baseball coach will commend a player for a good job on fielding ground balls, but it doesn't help the team or the individual player if the coach doesn't also recommend the player work on his batting. In the same manner, business coaches need to tell employees to keep up the good work, but continue to improve in problem areas. If all intentions are known ahead of time, the mentee will understand that his coach has his best interest in mind when pointing out where he still can improve.
  • Be opportunistic with coaching: Coaching is not a singular event and it should not be treated as such. It is a way of life, and so good coaches don't just give advice and feedback come annual performance review time, but whenever there is a coachable moment. Good coaches realize that professional and personal development is a lifelong process so coaching must be a way of life.

With these tips, you are ready to coach your team to success. However, before you start pushing your advice onto your teams, keep this last important message in mind: in order for a coaching relationship to succeed, the mentee must be open to being coached and receiving honest answers and feedback without the sugarcoating. Most people aren't ready for this, but when they are, good coaches can guide them all the way to the championship game.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher.

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