Mon – June 24th, 2013.
Last week, I was at a two days training on Coaching and Mentoring, run by QA. Every now and then, I find it useful to attend trainings and seminars, which help me refresh my mind, learn new tools and techniques and if nothing else, validate my own convictions and comprehensions. This time however, I was left feeling a bit confused! No doubt, the overall objective and the content was valuable but it was what happened towards the end or more accurately, what a fellow trainee told me that confused the living lights out of me.
As we were winding down, we were made to do a small role play in pairs. My partner was a senior head of sales of a company. The task was for the partner to play the role of a difficult person on my team, and the challenge was to reflect upon his/her recent negative behaviour and “coach” the person with an aim to “change” that behaviour. At the end of the exercise, the partner’s feedback to me was “I was being nice”. In a very polite way, she basically meant to say my coaching approach didn’t work on her. Apparently, I wasn’t assertive enough to make her change her views.
Fair enough, I could swallow the bitter pill that maybe I wasn’t being assertive enough, which I only had to wait a bit to see her idea of assertiveness was a JFDI (just f***ing do it) but what exactly did she mean by the Mr. Nice Guy statement?
I’ve spent the last few days studying the ways of sports coaches and managers. From José Mourinho to Sir Alex Ferguson to Carlos Bianchi, these highly accomplished individuals appear to demonstrate extreme levels of excitement, frustrations and temper on the field during match days. Hardly a list of items on the definition of “nice”. But what about off field? I noted the thing in common amongst most successful coaches and mentors are they are highly passionate individuals who have deep bondings with the players and command a strong respect from them. So the key question here is could these highly successful coaches have achieved the level of success by not being nice? I believe the same principle applies to coaching teams outside sports and in Business.
So am I passionate about my work and do the teams I coach respect me? I’d like to think so. Have the teams I’ve coached or worked with have been successful? With some failures, yes they have mostly achieved their goals (until now at least). Managers need to be firm and even shrewd sometimes but do they need to be nice? Personally, I think yes.
What do you think?