Fail to Plan and you will Plan to Fail

October 25th, 2019

When it comes to business management we have all heard the saying: “Fail to Plan and you will Plan to Fail”

And that is certainly true. I have consistently collaborated with my team to develop business plans that outline key business development activities required to help us achieve our growth objectives every year.

A good plan generally outlines:

  • WHAT our value proposition, targets and goals are for the year.
  • HOW we expect to promote our value, engage our targets and achieve those goals.
  • WHY the plan is vital for our business and our staff.

This process provides us with greater focus and agreement on key activities …. but your ability to achieve your growth objectives is largely dependent upon your team’s ability to effectively execute the agreed activities.

And this is where most plans fail.

Simply expecting everyone to brilliantly execute the agreed activities is unrealistic and frankly, the REAL cause for not achieving growth (or business failure).

Think of it this way …. every sports team has a plan for winning a championship, but without regular coaching of the skills required to execute their plan they are unlikely to win.

Talent and experience alone will NOT win a championship.
Talent and experience alone will NOT drive greater growth.

Stop thinking that all you need to do is hire talented, experienced people. I strongly believe that when it comes to successful business management the more appropriate quote is: “Fail to Coach and You Will Fail to Grow.”

Coaching is more than just checking-in on your staff or helping someone with an immediate need or helping them get through a difficult task. You MUST consistently develop the skills, behaviors and beliefs of your team so they CAN brilliantly execute the agreed plan. By doing so you will achieve significantly greater growth for your business and greater success for all …. both professionally and personally.

A Good Coach Can Change a Game.
A Great Coach Can Change a Life.

Introduce a formal coaching cadence for both yourself and your team. Consider making personal development and formal team coaching a core part of your job every week (or month). Most Leaders I speak to (and work with) agree that coaching is essential for success, yet they still fail to implement a regular coaching cadence. Because formal coaching has not been part of their routine throughout their career, I generally hear many limiting beliefs (or excuses) as to why Leaders cannot effectively implement a valuable coaching cadence.

Here are four common limiting beliefs and some considerations to help you overcome:

1. I don’t have time to coach my team

If you were to ask Leaders what they thought was their core responsibility when it comes to leading a team, most would say it is to support their team to achieve their goals. On that basis, isn’t regular coaching the best type of support? What other leadership activity helps the team prosper more than coaching? Therefore, as a Leader it is important that every month you block time in your calendar to formally meet with individuals and coach your team. If you are already meeting your Team on a regular basis, then simply convert these meetings (or a portion thereof) into a formal coaching session. Prioritize this above all other meetings …. otherwise handover your leadership badge to someone else.

2. I don’t know how to coach

Many people achieve leadership positions due to consistently achieving good individual results and/or due to their long tenure within their organization. The challenge with this type of promotion is that these Leaders generally struggle to replicate their success in others and/or simply expect their team to follow their lead. Coaching may not come naturally to some …. however the aim is to not overcomplicate or overthink it. Your success/tenure suggests that you have lots of great wins and experience that you can share with your Team. Start by simply introducing a formal coaching cadence (team meetings + individual 1×1 meetings) and then focus each meeting on a specific activity that everyone agrees is important for growth (eg. building rapport, networking, asking for referrals). Share your experiences with that activity. Ask questions that promote discussion. Agree on a best practice (or two). Ask the team to implement (attempt) that best practice. Review at your next formal coaching meeting.

3. My team does not need coaching

Some leaders seem to believe that coaching is somewhat superfluous, unnecessary or perhaps even insulting, based on the talent and/or experience of their team. But is everyone in your team consistently performing the agreed activities required for growth at a consistently high level – ie. they have no problem getting customer meetings and every customer meeting is a win? I would suggest the answer is no. And even consistently high performing teams embrace regular coaching as an essential requirement for success. Just ask the New England Patriots or the US Women’s Soccer Team … or any other highly successful sports team. EVERYONE CAN BENEFIT FROM COACHING. The BEST way to grow your bank or business more easily is through regular coaching – ie. the sharing of successful experiences and proven best practices. We can ALL learn better ways to engage and meet with customers that make it easier to achieve greater success. The beauty of coaching “elite athletes” is that they are usually more willing to embrace and practice new ideas that will help them win more deals more easily.

4. My team is un-coachable

If I had a nickel for every time a leader said to me that their team are too set in their ways and/or are unwilling to learn new skills I would have retired years ago. As a leader it is important to understand why some people are unwilling to change and/or embrace the training/coaching. I strongly believe you CAN teach an “old dog new tricks” once you understand what will motivate them to try something new and/or to change. Everyone has different motivations. Everyone learns differently. Build TRUST by taking the time to understand each person’s motivations (personal goals) and each person’s fear of change. Inspire them to try new “tricks” and make it safe for them to learn and practice without fear. Good consistent coaching will allow every Leader to genuinely help their staff achieve their aspirational personal goals and overcome their fear of change. I guarantee you will even be able to encourage the most stubborn (fearful) employee to change.

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To successfully grow your Bank or Business you must introduce a regular coaching culture. Remember good consistent coaching will always be more impactful than the occasional training workshop.

Highly effective Leaders accept that a major responsibility of their role is coaching. They overcome any limiting beliefs they may have and commit to implementing a formal coaching cadence and to developing their own coaching skills.

As a result of this commitment (no matter how difficult initially), these highly effective Leaders consistently produce outstanding results and create a greater quality of life for themselves … and their team.