Learning & Development

Transforming Managers into Coaches

Yesterday we began to explore a recent interview with Jason Forrest, CEO and Chief Culture Officer at FPG (Forest Performance Group), who recently released  his book, WTF: Why Training Fails. Today, we’ll look at what he has to say about transforming managers into coaches and who coaches the managers.

Daily Advisor: Part of your book is about transforming managers into coaches. Can you talk about that a little bit?

Jason Forrest: Managers make people’s lives easier. Coaches make people better. Coaches hold employees accountable for becoming a better version of themselves. If employees come to you and ask to lower the price of what they’re selling, or say that they need an incentive or need to match what the competition does, you have two options. You can manage them by making their life easier, which is either saying yes or no, or you can coach them by equipping them with tools to sell without the incentive. A coach changes the question into making the person better, not making life easier. Everyone goes into management wanting to be a coach. The problem is we get stuck into systems or meetings or processes or cultures set up to make us managers, not coaches. Our job is to transform companies into promoting coaching cultures.

Daily Advisor: Who coaches the managers?

Jason Forrest: You should always look to a training organization that provides coaching geared toward unleashing leadership. If you’re at the top, say as a CEO, you need to find outside executive coaching. I always have four external coaches coaching me at any given time.

Daily Advisor: How can you get through to employees who are resistant to change, or think their way is already the best way?

Jason Forrest: First of all, find places to agree with them. Employees resist training when they feel their knowledge isn’t being respected. If you loop them in as part of the creation and training process, they’re now part of your team. From there, once they feel their existing skills, abilities and knowledge are being respected, they’ll be all the more willing to build on what they already have in place. People don’t respond well to being told that everything they do is wrong, especially by outside consultants. They need to know you respect what they know, even if you’re trying to change their underlying behavior.

Daily Advisor: A lot of sales teams have a Monday meeting where they go over the numbers. Is that effective? If not, what would be more effective?

Jason Forrest: It’s effective as long as it’s five minutes or less. Meetings should rarely spend more time than that rehashing the old in lieu of looking toward the future. If you do spend time going over numbers, the rest of the meeting should be forward-looking and squarely focused on what’s next. Those numbers are just a history lesson, and while you’re looking backward someone else is running past you.

Jason Forrest is the CEO and Chief Culture Officer at FPG (Forrest Performance Group).