What Makes a Good Leader a Good Coach?

What Makes a Good Leader a Good Coach?
by Sam Phillips

Business gurus will contend that there are certain personality traits every good leader must possess to help create an atmosphere where people can perform well and enjoy the work they do.

Granieri says that one of the most important characteristics of a good leader is commitment–to the welfare of the team, the overall goals of the organization and the success of the company. "If the leader believes in the people around him and is determined to make good things happen, that dedication is infectious and spills over onto those around him," he says.

Being engaged and genuinely interested in the people who work with you and for you is also paramount. "People need to feel like someone cares," says Granieri. "Not just about work–related issues, but in their personal lives too. An effective leader will take the time to get to know her people, pay attention to what's going on in their lives and spread a little fun in the workplace. He or she must truly be interested, not just surface interested. This will create a trusting and healthy work environment–one that people enjoy coming to every day."

Leaders should be disciplined, but not rigid, contends Granieri. "If you possess the attitude, 'My way or the highway,' you're doomed to fail from the start. People will be hesitant to voice their opinions. A lot of good ideas never see the light of day in this type of environment. Nothing can grow. Early on in my managerial career, if someone asked me, `Are you fair to your people?' I would have responded that yes, I was fair. I treated them all the same. Now, I would answer, `Yes, I am fair; I treat them all differently, based on their needs.'"

To successfully perpetuate an organization's success, the coaching and development of associates is vital. People make the difference, and if they're well trained, happy and in an environment that is enriching, they'll take the company to great heights.

"This is particularly important in our type of business," Granieri says. "We're not building widgets and steel girders–things you can touch. We're selling promises and we're selling intangibles. So it's very important that folks keep developing, stay fresh. A good coach will make sure that happens. What it really boils down to is, the more creative, the more disciplined, the more able an organization becomes, the more productive they'll be and through that productivity they'll reach higher and higher performance levels."

Granieri stresses that eliminating the constraints–both personally and from an organizational perspective–is mandatory. "Openness to new and different ideas is necessary if you want to be successful," he says. "There are no bad ideas. Everyone can make a positive contribution. The trick is creating an atmosphere where that open exchange is possible."

If we remember one thing, Granieri contends, it should be that we are just people and sometimes we think we're communicating or we have a tendency to believe everybody knows what we know and what they know, when in fact they only know what they know. It's up to us to communicate what we know.

"Because relationships are built on trust, it's important for every coach, every leader, every employee to foster an atmosphere of trust and security, where communication is on–going, a way of life, easy," he says. "This atmosphere is motivating and exhilarating. People will feel inspired and respected and part of a winning team!"