Think of any world class sports team and there are two elements which are essential to its success: a great coach and the ability of the team’s participants to be coached.

A great coach knows their team members and is acutely aware of their strengths and weaknesses because they are watching them closely all the time. Mistakes are never welcome, but are never ignored. In fact they become the basis for training and practice. With the benefit of instant playback a team’s efforts are carefully scrutinized and coaching opportunities looked for. It makes no difference if the team wins or loses, there is always something to be learned. In fact the difference between a winning and losing team is sometimes down to who makes the fewest mistakes.

Imagine the outcome if a winning team decided they didn’t need to be coached anymore because they felt they were as good as they were going to get and at the top of their game.

Or imagine what the outcome would be if team participants refused to own their mistakes or could not see the value of being coached. Perhaps they blame their team mates for their errors, or make excuses.

In summary, successful coaches are always on the lookout for things that need to be improved, that’s how they build world class teams. Successful players accept and own their weaknesses and do what it takes to overcome them.

Should it be any different in the world of business? It really shouldn’t be!

Suppose we compare two competitors in an emerging market, equal in every respect except in this relationship between a coach and their team members.

On the one hand one of the companies has no coaching program. They don’t seek out their errors and mistakes and there is no culture of employees owning their weaknesses and being expected to fix them. In fact managers (who should also be their department coaches), hide poor performance for fear of reprimand. It is interesting to note that the inefficiencies caused by mistakes and errors stays quite consistent in this organization.

On the other hand their competitor insists that every manager becomes an affective coach to their department members. They have developed a culture where all errors and mistakes are harvested and used as an opportunity for growth and development. They accept that mistakes happen, but always react by providing effective coaching in every case. It is interesting to note that errors and mistakes are declining in this organization.

Which of the two is likely to develop into a world class organization?

How well are you and your organization performing by comparison?

January 17, 2015 @ 12:00 amby:  Michael Bull