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Research Triangle Business Advisors

November 2014 Newsletter


Over my 20 years as a coach and mentor I have shared my approach to solving problems with my clients, peers, and friends.  After recently seeing several articles with the title of, “The 10 Laws of …” I decided to write about my 10 Laws of Coaching. Just to be clear, this is about not being the “boss,” and how to manage by being a player coach. 





  Bob De Contreras




The 10 Laws of Coaching

(Not Being the Boss)

Some executives or managers feel that they need to make all the decisions and give orders to their managers or staff - i.e. be the "boss." There is another way that is sometimes called "servant leadership," or "player coach," among other names. I suggest that being a coach rather than the "boss" leads to more successful businesses because of higher productivity, better moral, and improved teamwork. If this is of interest to you, consider the 10 Laws of Coaching that follow.

10: Be Clear and Detailed in all Your Communications

Too often I hear, “Why can’t I get people to do what I want them to do.” After a discussion, the answer is often the same for most situations. The “boss” does not clearly state what needs to be done. The employees do the best they can to understand what the “boss” wants, but their conclusion is not always in alignment with what the “boss” needed. Be clear, detailed and use 8th grade level English words.  Avoid acronyms, jargon, and abbreviations.

9: Communication Can’t Happen Without Both Parties Fully Listening

There was a time when I thought I was a great listener. But, I wasn’t, because I was thinking of my next question or answer while the other person was talking. Yes, they were communicating and I was not listening. This is a common listening problem. Don’t miss any information, be fully present, listen until the person stops talking and only then think about your answer or next question.  This is easy to say, hard to do, but essential for effective communication.

8: Look to the Future, Not the Now or the Past

Experience is good, but wisdom is better. Past or current experiences often don’t fit or apply to future situations.  So, rather than planning based on the past, think to the future, come up with plans that fit what you see as the future environment, and anticipated future situations (competition, products, demand, resources, finance, etc.). Guide your employees to do the same and help them see the future environment.

7: Your View is Not Always the Best Answer or Solution

The employees live their days closer to the clients, closer to the problems, closer to the products and generally see more solution alternatives. Coach your employees to seek out issues and recommend solutions, before you have to get involved because of a complaint or other failure.  Hire good people, delegate and get out of their way.

6: The Question Is The Answer.

Learn to ask questions and listen to the answers. Listen to your employees when they state their problems. Coach your employees by questioning them for their solutions.  Acquire the skills to coach by questioning rather than telling your employees what to do and avoid coming up with all the answers yourself.

5: Stop and Think Before you Proceed

Never rush into a solution, project, plan, or any situation, without thinking through the impact and consequences of your action. In other words, before you stand up to do anything, sit down and really think it through. Sometimes what looks good isn't, and what looks bad isn’t either. Coach your employees to find success by planning in this way.

4: Don’t be Afraid to do Anything for the First Time

Have confidence in your talents and those of your employees and your company as a whole. The best “bosses” never let not having done something stop them from taking on a challenge. Not having preconceived notions is an advantage that allows you to come up with better approaches and solutions. Challenge your employees to solve problems you don’t think can be solved – often those that don’t know it can’t be done, do it.

3: Get to the Point Directly and Quickly

Coach your employees that when a person asks a question, they should answer it as succinctly as possible. We shouldn’t tell long stories from our past, or take tangents that are not relevant to the topic. We must be as complete and detailed as possible without being verbose.

2: Get out of Town as Soon as You Can

When it's time to leave a project, client, or problem, just do it. Don't stick around any longer than you have to, or your chance to leave may disappear. Said another way, when it’s fixed you are done – don’t keep trying to fix something that is not broken. Coach your employees to improve productivity by using this method.

1: Don’t be Shy, but Don’t Let Your Ego Speak for You

We must talk about ourselves, our department and our firm confidently without coming across as either too arrogant or too weak. Don't assume anyone knows or understands anything, and be ready to argue your position at all times. Communicating with clarity is the single greatest skill a “boss” develops over a career. Coach your employees on how to do this effectively.


Cary | Raleigh | Research Triangle Park | Greensboro | North Carolina
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