According to Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy, “Coaches are specifically and explicitly on the student’s side… The focus is on helping the child get better, bringing out the child’s best so he or she can win.”
How does this apply to the workplace? Laura Vanderkam, discussing Khan’s ideas in a recent MoneyWatch/CBS News suggests: “If you’re delivering performance reviews this week, ask yourself this question: Am I behaving like a teacher or a coach? Is the point to label members of your team — your A players, B players and the C players who may be on their way out? Or is the point to figure out what your team members need to work on, and then figure out a way that you can work with them — as their ally — to shore up their weaknesses, practice repeatedly and ultimately to win?”
A coach turns average players into good players, and good players into great ones. That’s precisely what you can do, when you let your employees know, in word and deed, that you are their ally, that you are on their side, supporting them in every way you can.
Just like a really good coach.