Have you ever noticed that almost everyone loves a winner? That’s especially true when it comes to athletics. In 2016 the Olympic Games will open in Rio de Janeiro, and the television camera crews will be there to capture, close up, the faces of exhilaration on the Olympic Gold Medal winners. Have you ever noticed that that’s what you hope to see–expect to see–watch to see?
You’re typically not interested in the “also rans.” Which is exactly why we won’t see on our television screens the faces of the majority of the athletes who will converge on Rio for the games, either because they won’t qualify for the finals or simply won’t medal. They just won’t hold our interest. We will want to spend time with the winners – preferably Gold Medal winners.
We’ll see some new faces on the winner’s platform, athletes in training right now, being coached by people who believe in their potential to medal. It’s important to remember, however, that everyone at the Olympics is an elite athlete in their own country–all people who will have worked hard and sacrificed much just to be there. And whether they make it to the winner’s platform or not, they are all to be celebrated for their accomplishments.
The same is true in our organizations. While some people stand head and shoulders above the rest in their accomplishments and need to be recognized, let us not forget those whose potential has yet to be fully developed. Let us not forget those who, with the proper coaching and training, might well be your superstars of tomorrow.
Michael Phelps, the first ever to win eight Olympic Gold Medals, said of his coach, Bob Bowman, “He saw something in me at a young age and really has never given up on me, through good times and bad. He’s helped me grow from an 11 year old swimmer who didn’t really know what he was doing to the person I am today. I always wanted to be an Olympic Gold Medalist and a professional athlete, and Bob has taken me there.”
Inside every employee hides a spark of creativity that is waiting to be discovered and fanned into a flame of passion. At the Aligned Leader Institute our tag line is Awakening Potential…Igniting Performance! As a professional speaker, I am passionate about igniting the greatness, first within ourselves, and then within others. We know that within all employees is the potential to be a gold medal performer, and it is our job as leaders to discover the gift each employee brings to the workplace, and coach each to reach their full potential.
Now, be your own best coach by answering the following questions:
- Do I see the potential in my employees?
- Am I coaching to their potential? If not, why not?
- Do I possess the skills for coaching? If not, what do I need to do to get skilled?
- What difference would it make to my organization if I were to take my role as coach seriously and begin looking for the spark of gold in each of my direct reports and nurture the gift in each one?
- What difference would it make to me if I developed Olympic level coaching skills and used them to coach my employees?
Eddie Robinson said, “Leadership, like coaching, is fighting for the hearts and souls of men [and women] and getting them to believe in you.” A big part of the fight for the hearts and souls of men and women is to demonstrate your faith in them and their potential. And, that involves coaching!
As one who has done executive coaching for many years with those who have gone on to become star performers, I know firsthand the difference it can make. If I, as an outside executive coach, can make a difference, think of the difference you can make every single day for the people with whom you spend the most time — those who work for you!
Have you ever been coached? If so, what difference did it make for you? Comments welcome.