Thomas Jefferson said, "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock."
Being an inspiring coach is as much about who you are as it is about what you do. Your character is rooted in your values, those things that are vital to you and reflect your uniqueness and priorities. Your values, not your circumstances or fleeting feelings, should dictate your decisions and behavior. Your values about people and performance should guide your approach to coaching your team.
Personal values-- like excellence, honesty, and openness--in and of themselves are just concepts and may be hard to put your finger on. However, once you convert those values into behaviors you can observe, then you can measure, manage, and live them.
Although choosing your values is certainly a personal matter, there are a few values inspiring coaches share: integrity, humility and caring.
Without a doubt, your personal integrity is your most prized possession. Each day, that integrity is constantly tested, and you have an opportunity to prove it or lose it with every decision you make. If you compromise your integrity, your team will stop following you out of commitment and will follow you only out of compliance with your position. If people stop following you, you aren't really leading anymore, regardless of your title.
Leading with integrity is not always the easiest thing to do, but it is always the right thing to do. Choosing to do the right thing--even when it's painful--ensures you will maintain your integrity throughout your personal and professional journey.
Coaching, in any venue, is about other people . . . not us. It's normal to feel proud of personal accomplishments, but inspiring coaches take more pride in their team's accomplishments than their own. Staying humble enables you to use your coaching platform to take a stand and conquer much more as a team than you could alone.
True humility is expressed in your actions, not your words. You cannot afford to be like the guy who was voted most humble leader of a nationwide, professional association of leaders in the workforce. The association presented him with a medal that said, "Most Humble Leader in America." Then the association took it away from him at their next meeting because he wore the medal! Personal pride can turn into a slippery slope of egotism and arrogance.
Build the courage to conquer the outside forces and the humility to conquer your inside forces.
The value of caring is expressed as a genuine interest in others. Inspiring coaches ask questions to get to know the person behind the employee. They do so not because they think they should, but because they really want to know their people and encourage them to be the best they can be. This deep caring is born out of the sense of purpose to serve others that these coaches feel.
Caring also means paying attention--picking up on little signs, changes, moods, expressions and other cues-- to gain a more complete picture of the employee. Coaches who notice the little things can better help employees address root causes of challenges, rather than just symptoms.
Genuinely caring for your team also helps you manage your reactions because you are concerned about the other parties. We will address that topic in the next chapter.
What kind of coach do you want to be for your team?
As you select or reaffirm your values, assess how well you are living these three common coaching values: integrity, humility, and caring.