A boss reacts quickly. He assigns blame and focuses on surface level issues. A boss criticizes, commands, and picks favorites.
A coach, on the other hand, gets to the root of a problem. He finds what each person has to offer to the organization and leverages those unique abilities to the team’s advantage no matter the skill level they are at. Everyone has a special talent that can contribute to the bigger picture.
Your disengaged employees are a lot like disengaged children—unsure of where to focus their attention, lacking passion or vision, unable to break out and share their contribution.
To help them, you need to be inspiring and instill the values of good sportsmanship like staying positive, being a team player, being fair, and having fun. You need to teach them how to focus on the why of what they’re doing rather than the what.
In the last decade, traditional management styles have fallen out of vogue as we have discovered that businesses thrive when leaders develop goodwill, trust, and a vision all can get behind. Turning disengaged employees into immersed contributors requires a coach, not a boss.
And how can you become a coach instead of a boss?
By coaching for your child’s sports team, of course.
How Much Disengaged Employees Cost
$450 to $550 billion a year.
That’s how much actively disengaged employees cost U.S. companies per year in lost productivity, according to one Gallup poll.
Learning how to engage and motivate your team is fundamental to edging out the competition in the economy—and on the field. As a youth sports coach, you deal with the realities on the ground. Some children are fast and some are slow. Some were enthusiastic and others were despondent.
“You have to find out what really gets them going and what motivates them. And some kids you don’t even have to motivate because they’re self-motivated. But there are other kids that you will have to dig a little deeper,”
says New York Yankees Manager Joe Girargi,
“It’s important that you keep them engaged.”
Paying attention to everyone’s skills and inspiring them to bring their best is what leadership is all about at the office and with your kids’ sports team. You need to build a culture of trust and communication to allow all your team members to shine. You need to build affinity.
That’s what makes people motivated to work hard for you—children or adults. We listen to people we respect. We don’t take advice from our adversaries or dutifully follow the directions of those we hate.
Your employees are the same. They may feign listening to you for a paycheck but for them to stay focused and productive, they need to feel they are part of a team and believe in your leadership and vision. They need to believe in something they can get behind. Otherwise, they will start looking to join another team.
Disengaged Employees are like Disengaged Players
Joe Hyrkin, CEO of Issuu, a digital publishing platform, says
“Everyone needs to play to their strengths. A kid on a baseball team who is really fast but not a great hitter can be valuable as a pinch runner late in the game or turn their single into a double or triple. It's the same in business. It's important to put each team member on projects where they'll excel.”
The strengths and weaknesses of individual team members are easier to act upon when you’re in the relatively low-risk environment of a youth sports game. There aren’t millions of dollars on the line and nobody’s job is at stake. This allows you the freedom to open your eyes to more possibilities and find the right place for kids on the field.
You’ll be able to bring those same eyes into the office. More practice in a low-risk environment allows you to build the confidence you need to start executing when the pressure is on.
You need to build a culture where risk and failure are celebrated. As Steve Jobs once said:
“Stay hungry. Stay Foolish”
Steve Jobs Photo Source: Depositphotos
How Coaching Improves Your Parenting Relationship
Michigan State University asked children why the played sports.
The number one answer?
To have fun, a child athletes report enjoying the quality time, special attention, and increased motivation from having their father as their coach.
This is great news because one of the most important things you can do in your relationship with your children is to have a good time and enjoy each other’s company. Enjoy the moment regardless of a win or a loss because you have already won.
Unlike disengaged employees, your children are not paid to be with you or listen to you. To the dismay of many parents, they assert themselves in any way they can, whenever they can.
You want a child who will listen to you; who, while they may not follow every direction and piece of advice, take your words into consideration.
How do you make your children listen?
By creating a strong emotional attachment. We know that children who are securely attached to their parents have better relationships with them.
How do you make employees listen better?
Shockingly, the same thing. The warmth, stability, and support you bring to your work environment is likely the same that you bring to your parental and romantic relationships. But like children, employees need to respect, understand the rules, and know who to look to for vision and leadership.
Building a strong relationship and trusting in your people to show up benefits you and your team regardless of the environment you’re in.
Do you want to get involved in youth sports to help refine your coaching skills at the office? But what’s right for both situations? Here are a few things you can expect from different age groups and different levels of experience in your employees.
Kids from 2-7 years old: In the early years, your children will love having you as a coach. Your instincts for them at this age will be to teach them about playing and having fun, not winning. Quality time at this age sets the basis for healthy relationships later in life.
Office: Your new young recruits are full of energy and ideas. Build a solid foundation for your relationship by giving them a platform to experiment and letting them learn from more experienced colleagues. This will open you up to new ideas and guide new employees in best practice.
Kids from 7-12 years old: Games and championships may weigh more heavily on your children. Jeff Bezos teaches his kids to be proud of their choices, not their talents. By being the coach, you can help your children keep their eye on the ball. That ball is their choices and effort.
Office: This is your middle management. They are still hungry, but reluctant to change and scared to shake the boat. Some are comfortable and stuck in a routine. You can help them focus on their choices and effort by creating a culture of safety.
Kids 13+: You can still get a lot out of coaching your children’s sports at this age. They will value your skills and expertise more than when they were younger, and you’ll benefit if their peers look up to you. Be careful though—if your child isn’t having fun anymore, talk to them about whether you should step down. If they think that’s a good idea, try to keep practicing with them on weekends.
Office: Your senior management is the most likely to be able to appreciate your skill but may require additional motivation. Consider talking to them about whether an executive coach might help them breakthrough their routine and back into inspiration.
Coaching youth sports is fulfilling. You’ll have deeper routes in your community. You’ll have a closer bond with your child as you share quality time together.
As we move into the future, we want engaged children and engaged employees. Imagine what your business will look like in 20 years, filled with people who couldn’t even muster interest in their soccer or baseball team. Start planting the seeds for future success now by cultivating coaching skills at work and home.