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Truth, Trust, and the Bottom Line: 7 Steps to Trust-Based Management

Truth, Trust, and the Bottom Line: 7 Steps to Trust-Based Management

by Diane Tracy, William J. Morin
A trust based culture is the proven way to bring out the best in employees.

The most successful organizations are those that are able to attract, develop, and retain talented people people that require developmental opportunities, coaching, and feedback.

Truth, Trust, and the Bottom Line offers managers, executives, coaches, trainers, team leaders, and


A trust based culture is the proven way to bring out the best in employees.

The most successful organizations are those that are able to attract, develop, and retain talented people people that require developmental opportunities, coaching, and feedback.

Truth, Trust, and the Bottom Line offers managers, executives, coaches, trainers, team leaders, and human resources professionals new strategies for turning organizations around and regaining market share by moving to a coaching style of management, or improving the processes that are already in place.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In today's topsy-turvy economy, it's more important than ever that employers retain good workers. Tracy (a motivational coach) and Morin (former chairman and CEO of the search firm Drake, Beam, Morin) offer a seven-point program for "coaching" employees rather than simply managing them. Their approach involves regularly giving feedback, creating a vision and a plan, breaking through employee resistance, helping define specific performance objectives and providing the tools necessary to meet them. In turn, an employee must be committed to this process and ready to provide open and honest feedback to his or her manager. While these recommendations are quite broad, the authors offer sound explanations and practical blueprints to help managers implement them. Tracy and Morin are at their best when providing clear examples, especially hypothetical dialogues between managers and employees. The principles work, according to the authors, because managers who act as coaches can communicate honestly and authentically motivate their workers. Those open to new responsibilities and a more egalitarian style of management will find this book most useful, with the caveat that not every company fosters this type of management. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Basing their management style on the importance of openness and trust between people, Tracy and Morin (they are authors and professionals in management) present a seven-step plan for their "Coach Approach" to management. The steps encourage the manager to seek the truth, give consistent feedback, create a plan, break through resistance, and so forth, with examples of managers who have succeeded with these tools, personal anecdotes of their own coaching experience, and sidebars on how to apply these processes to all personal relationships. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

Kaplan Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.34(w) x 9.18(h) x 0.88(d)

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The "Coach Approach"
to Management

    Frequently in our work as professional coaches we are called in to help repair the damage done by an ineffective leader. In one particular instance we were asked to coach a new manager who was in crisis. In the six months since he had joined the company, he had lost eight of the ten people reporting to him which cost the company approximately $6.2 million in search fees, severance packages, etc.

    When we conducted one-on-one interviews with the eight people who left, they each gave the same reason for leaving: They did not trust the manager. In story after story, they recited instances when he distorted the truth, betrayed their confidences, and treated them with disrespect. Through coaching, the manager eventually learned to change his behavior and develop more of a coaching style of management, but at a pretty high price to the company.

    So what is a coaching style of management? What does it look like? We'll begin by defining the word coaching. Coaching is the process of developing a relationship and environment through which people can discover their greatness, deal with their deficiencies and dark sides, reach more of their potential, and accomplish their work and career objectives.

    In any coaching situation, whether it is a boss-subordinate, parent-child, or mentor-mentee relationship, coaching is always an ongoing process. It is not event oriented—it is happening all the time. Coaching is always about building a trusting relationship bygivinghonest, helpful feedback. It's about creating a psychological/emotional environment where positive things can happen. It's about setting goals and helping people achieve them.

    Helping is the key word. In our coaching work we once saw a simple but powerful demonstration of what it means to be a good manager, a good coach. A boss and subordinate were having a conversation about the fact that the subordinate was not meeting the expectations for the job. Without consoling or criticizing, the boss simply looked the person in the eyes and sincerely asked, "What can I do to help you?"

    Although the boss in no way relieved the person of his responsibility to improve his performance, we could see relief and gratitude on the person's face. In our own consulting business, we frequently remind each other of this story. By recounting it, we are reminded that far more is achieved by giving support and encouragement than by criticizing and condemning.

    The relationship is the basis upon which significant change occurs. In order for people to engage in the tough work of honestly looking at themselves—looking at their good stuff and the stuff none of us want to look at—there has to be a vulnerability and there can be no vulnerability unless there is trust.

    What we've actually just described is leadership. As one of our nation's finest leaders, General Colin Powell, said leadership is about mission and people. In a recent interview, he went on to say: "The only way to accomplish a mission is through those troops entrusted to your care. It's not you. It's not the organization. It's not any plan you have. At the end of the day, it's some soldier who will go up a hill and correct your mistakes and take the hill." He also posed the question of why you would follow someone around a corner, up a hill, into a dark room? "The answer," he said, "is trust."

    Trust is an old-fashioned word that isn't used much in the workplace today. What is trust anyway? One way you know it exists is when a person asks you to do something without giving a complete explanation and you do it because you trust that person has your welfare at heart and wouldn't do anything to harm you. You believe in him or her. That kind of trust doesn't come easy and it doesn't happen overnight.

    We once coached an individual responsible for $1 billion in sales whose people did not trust him. He constantly issued orders without any explanation or reasons behind them. Consequently, his people were always asking, "Why?" The executive expected blind trust from his people but had done nothing to earn it. He thought he was being expedient by operating in a military style but he was actually slowing down the organization by not answering people's questions and concerns.

    Part of a manager's job is to work on people's competencies and skills so they can "take the hill," so they can accomplish the objectives of the job. That's the easy part. The hard part is getting people to believe in their own good stuff—getting them to realize more of their vast untapped potential. Most of us are much better human beings and far more capable than we realize ourselves to be. And most of us are clueless about our dark sides (and we each have one)—the destructive little things we think, say, and do in order to satisfy our ego's clever agenda. We unconsciously justify and rationalize away that part of ourselves which doesn't fit our carefully crafted persona—the image of the fine, upstanding, successful person who has it all together.

    That's why we need a coach—someone who can lead us to our best selves. In the case of work, the person who is usually best equipped to do that is the manager we are reporting to. The built-in mechanisms designed to keep us from the truth about ourselves are just too strong. The manager's job is to help us look at it all, embrace the good and bad, and do something different so we can be a happier, more productive, self-fulfilled individuals.

Redefining Management

    Although we have been using the word management rather freely, it's actually a word that needs to be deleted from business vocabulary. It is a stuffy, lifeless word; a concept that holds little relevance in the high-tech, fast-moving, dynamic world in which we are living. It's a paradigm that served us well when people were content to simply have a job and job security; when competition was based more on product and marketing than people and relationships; when change happened at human speed rather than the speed of light. Management as we have known it in the past is a paradigm begging for transformation.

    Because the word management is such a part of our business lexicon, it's probably not going to go away any time soon so, the best we can do is to rethink it, redefine it. We'll be doing a lot of that in the pages that follow. We are going to undress it, take it apart, and challenge some of the fundamental beliefs that have driven the way managers manage for almost a century.

    Interestingly, if we remove the letter t from the end of the word management, it becomes "manage men." (The word is so old that when it was first coined, women were obviously nowhere in the picture.) Think about it. The idea of one person managing another is a strange concept. The dictionary defines management as the act, manner, or practice of controlling. Perhaps that's why the word boss is a four-letter word to most people. No healthy, fully functioning adult wants to be controlled by another human being. If you don't believe it, ask your spouse or significant other.

    When people are unhappy in their jobs, when relationships go sour, it almost always has to do with issues related to power, ego, and self-esteem. If managers in companies and organizations knew the true meaning of power and how to use it; if they understood the role of the ego and how much it seeks to be fed in most people; if they knew how to build the self-esteem of their people, productivity would soar, profits would skyrocket, and the competition would be left in the dust. In fact, anyone who understands these fundamental human needs and how to relate to them can just about own the world.

The Shift from Manager to Coach

    Tasks, systems, resources, and initiatives must be managed and controlled. People must be encouraged, supported, and developed—in short, coached. When a manager develops a coaching style of management there is a shift in focus which enhances his or her ability to lead exponentially. Instead of focusing primarily on products and profits, tasks and activities, the manager focuses on people and relationships. It's a subtle but important shift. The manager never takes his or her eyes off the goal and understands the plays or activities that must be executed to get to the goal, but he or she knows that it's the people who are going to get you there; not technology, not systems, not marketing—the people. The relationship you have with them is the foundation. If they don't trust you, their energies will continuously be spent protecting themselves instead of continuously improving their performance. One eye will be on the goal and one eye on you—and not because you are particularly beautiful or handsome.

    One fundamental difference between an old-style manager and an enlightened manager has to do with how he views and uses power. We once coached a young manager who believed that his job was to command and control. He soon found that he was surrounded by a number of people who did not respond well to this style of management and his career was coming to a screeching halt. His story is not unusual. For approximately 80 percent of all the executives we coach, this is a major issue. Our job is to teach them another way of getting the job done through a coaching style of management.

    In the old, hierarchical form of management, managers had power over people. In today's world, the enlightened manager works from a different model. She works to nurture and develop the power within—the power within herself and the power and potential within the individuals and team she is assigned to lead.

    One more difference: A good manager has his own ego in perspective. Instead of beating his chest and proving his own brilliance, he should be concerned with the business of helping other people shine—helping others develop a heightened sense of their own power and potential.

    The most successful companies today are those which have made the philosophical shift from a command-and-control style of management to a coaching style of management. Not only have they made a philosophical shift, they are providing their managers with in-depth training on how to be an effective coach for the people they are leading. And they are holding their managers accountable for making the philosophical and behavioral shift.

    Pizza Hut is an excellent example of a company which has achieved bottom line results by moving to a coaching culture. In the early to mid-'90s, Pizza Hut's share of the market had dropped substantially over previous years. In that period, a new management team took over and radically improved the company's financial results by developing a vision of a coaching culture and driving that vision deep into the organization.

    They did more than send managers to a one-day class on coaching. They changed the manager and director titles to those of manager and area coach. Managers were taught a comprehensive process which, for one, dramatically changed the way the company identified, responded to, and solved problems. The process was designed to build and develop the people of the organization while building and improving the level of service provided to customers. Within 18 months, the company's market share and financial results improved significantly.

Management Paradoxes

    Life is full of paradoxes and so is management. The better you understand them and live from them, the more effective you will be. Understanding these paradoxes is what changing the paradigm is about. Here's a list of just some of them. See if you can come up with some of your own.

• The more you focus on the needs of your people, the more the needs of the job will get met.

• The less you play policeman, the more control of the work you will have.

• The less you remind people of your power, the more power you will have to get the job done.

• The more you help people feel good about themselves, the better they will feel about you.

• The less you command and demand, the more willing they will be to do the job.

    Many of us have worked under a very different paradigm. And for most of us, unless we have had some type of intervention or are particularly enlightened, we just simply pass on what has been done to us—what we have seen modelled. Working under the coaching paradigm is so much easier, so much more enjoyable. Work is transformed into play; energy that was spent posturing, politicking, and manipulating is now put toward the work. Everyone gets liberated—especially you, the manager.

Coaching Conditions

    Our definition of coaching can apply to almost any situation but when we apply it to work, the process takes place for the purpose of helping the individual fulfill the responsibilities, meet the standards and expectations, and accomplish the goals and objectives of the job.

    In order for this to happen, certain things must be in place if the coaching is to be effective.

• The job must be clearly defined.

• The person must be suited for the job in terms of competencies, experience, education, etc.

• The standards and expectations must be set and communicated to the person.

• The person should have clearly defined goals and objectives against which she will be evaluated.

    This book is about the feedback process which should take place between a manager and the individuals reporting to him. In order to be effective, this process should be supported by the company's formal feedback policy and procedure which is beyond the scope of this book. Managers must be held accountable for giving feedback to their people in a timely, constructive manner.

    There are other things that must be in place in order for a person to grow and develop on the job but if these are not present, any type of coaching effort will fail.

Common Misconceptions about Coaching

    Coaching is one of those words that's been around for a while and consequently has some baggage. For many of us, coaching conjures up images of sports. There's a lot we can learn from famous sports coaches but to make direct translations to business can be dangerous because the playing field is so different.

    To have a coach today has become somewhat trendy. People have fitness coaches, career coaches, communication coaches, image coaches—you name it and there's a coach for it. Whenever something becomes a trend or a fad, there are usually a fair amount of misconceptions about what it really means. When everyone is trying to make a buck off the new trend, the true meaning of the word or concept often gets lost in the hulabaloo.

    When we refer to coaching in this book we are referring to good sound leadership and management. The 7 Steps to Trust-Based Management process which we will introduce shortly can be applied to managers, supervisors, team leaders, internal consultants, and professional coaches as well. Most of the principles, with minor modifications, can also be applied to other situations, such as parenting, mentoring, etc.

    So what are some of the common misconceptions about coaching in the workplace? Here's a list of some of them.

Coaching is primarily for correcting behavior. If we only coach people when they do something wrong, we have missed the point. The focus should be on what people are capable of doing and being, and then working toward that end. It's about building not fixing.

Coaching requires giving up power and control. When a manager adopts a coaching style of management the manager doesn't give up her formal authority but uses it sparingly—the manager relies more on influence. The person is still accountable but the manager gets more control of the work product by being less controlling of the people.

Coaching takes too much time. Coaching takes too much time if you don't do enough of it and you don't do it correctly. In either case, you won't get the benefits that come from effective coaching and it will feel like a waste of time.

Coaching is soft stuff. The manager who avoids the soft stuff usually does so because it is so hard—the work is easy, people are difficult. Because the people stuff is so hard, the ill-equipped manager minimizes its importance and labels it soft. That's probably why a lot of workaholics put so many hours in at the office. Work is easier to deal with than home and family.

Coaching is laissez-faire management. When we talk about focusing on people and relationships we are not talking about being easy on people or indulging them. Nor are we talking about letting them run the show. Coaching is about empowering people and helping them more fully utilize their talent and abilities. Here's another management paradox for you: Freedom in the workplace, actually just about anywhere, is rooted in strict discipline. The disciplines—telling people their jobs, laying out the expectations, giving them feedback, holding them accountable—are the things that enable people to reach more of their potential in the context of the job. In fact, it's only through effective coaching and discipline that a manager earns the right to expect excellence from people.

Coaching is simply being a good cheerleader. A good manager is a cheerleader but it doesn't stop there. A good manager has the courage and inner strength when needed to tell people the truth—to deliver bad news. Coaching is not just patting people on the back. Sometimes it is kicking them in the butt. It is always done with the express purpose of helping the person.

Coaching is like therapy. Coaching is about understanding people without getting into their deep dark secrets, personal problems, or childhood. To be a good manager and coach one does need a basic understanding of human behavior and motivation, but therapy has no place in your relationship with the people you are leading. First of all, most people are not trained to play that role, and even if you were, it's not appropriate for the workplace. You want to encourage people to be self-reflective, but diving too deep into their psyche can be dangerous. Don't go there!

Coaching is telling people what to do. You are the manager so you must know more, right? Not necessarily so. And even if you do, people don't usually learn from being told something. They learn best through self-discovery. When you tell somebody something, regardless of how brilliant it is, it is like a flicker of light passing through his gray matter. When people discover something for themselves it is like a brilliant lightbulb that goes off in their heads. Your job is to get them connected to the circuit. Yes, there will be times when you must tell a person to do something, but those times should be restricted to the times when you are delegating work or in an emergency.


What You Don't Tell Them Can Hurt You ... and Them

It's amazing how many successful, high-level executives just don't get it. They may be brilliant business people but when it comes to understanding and managing people, one wonders how they ever got to where they are.

    Once when I was coaching an upper-middle manager in a well-known Fortune 500 company, I met with the person's boss as I do periodically when I am serving as an external coach. Upon meeting with me, the boss proceeded to tell me all the things about the person that he didn't like. His dislike for my coachee was so intense that almost everything about him was bothersome—right down to the way he parted his hair.

    Interestingly, my coachee was extremely bright, talented, experienced, and capable—someone the company did not want to lose, which incidentally, is why they spent the resources to hire an outside coach for him. But, like all of us he had some quirks—quirks which evidently pushed the boss's buttons big time. When I asked the boss if he had ever shared his concerns with the coachee, if he had ever given him feedback, his reply was: "No. If I criticized him I wouldn't be acting as a positive leader, would I?" This high-level executive did not understand one of the most basic management principles: If you don't give people feedback, they will keep doing the same irritating things. We think people know what they are doing. People can't change unless you tell them. Withholding information from a person is a disservice to everyone.

    Because the boss had what we call feedback back-up—stuff he had not gotten off his chest or out of his system—it was poisoning the relationship. His unexpressed dissatisfaction with the person kept him from seeing his positive qualities. In fact, his negative impressions of the person were so strong, I asked him if he thought he would be able to even recognize the positive changes if and when they occurred.

    The story has a happy ending. The coachee worked very hard on his issues, the boss stayed open and looked for the positive change, and eight months later he was promoted. Needless to say, the boss is no longer bothered by how he parts his hair. It's safe to say that without coaching, the company would have lost a very valuable person.


Truth or Consequences

    Remember the old game show Truth or Consequences (post-baby boomers probably won't) where people either told the truth or lied and paid a consequence? That's how it is with coaching. You either pay now or pay later.

    Honesty is at the heart of the coaching process. It's the manager's stock and trade. Without it, coaching becomes at best a game, a waste of time. Your skills in coaching will depend heavily on your ability to get to the truth about a lot of things—the person, her strengths and weaknesses, problems and challenges, etc. The truth is what you are after. Once you are confident that you see the picture clearly, you have to be able to deliver the truth in such a way that the person is able to hear it and embrace it—sometimes a difficult task.

    Many people in the workplace are afraid to tell the truth—to anyone. They do everything possible to avoid confrontation. Most of us who have worked for any length of time know of someone who was punished for speaking the truth. And it's not just managers who do the punishing. Employees can be quite skillful in how they punish managers for telling the truth: shutting down, talking behind the manager's back, sabotaging the work; the list goes on. And if the new 360-degree feedback process is not handled properly, it becomes one more way employees can punish managers. (In case you are unfamiliar with the 360-degree feedback process, it is a process whereby a person gets feedback from superiors, peers, and subordinates [if the person is a manager]. The idea is to get a better, more accurate picture of the person's strengths and weaknesses by getting the perspectives of a number of different people who work with the person.)

    Some people are so fearful of rejection that they tell others what they want to hear rather than what they think and feel. Managers who suffer from low self-esteem and a weak ego are often the last to tell employees the truth because they are afraid of what they might get back—some information about themselves as a manager which they cannot bear to hear.

    Still others were taught somewhere that they are responsible for other people's feelings so they go through life protecting others at the expense of their own truth and integrity. Whatever the reason for withholding the truth, and there are many, the consequences are always high. Here's one more paradox: We have this idea that if we tell the truth we will break the relationship, which is exactly what happens when we don't tell the truth. The relationship breaks because it is based on lies; lies which sooner or later must face the light of day.

    Telling the truth, of course, must always involve discretion, timeliness, and good intentions. Otherwise, telling the truth becomes a weapon for hurting others and achieving self-serving goals—all in the name of honesty. Honesty is like fire. It can either warm and inspire people or it can burn and destroy them.

    When we speak of telling the truth as a manager we are referring to those things that matter to the person, to the relationship, to the job, to the customer, and to the company. When we withhold the truth about important things, the important things become a barrier to the relationship and the work. If you've ever withheld the truth from an employee whom you liked and didn't want to hurt, only to explode one day because you just couldn't stand some aspect of his behavior or performance one more second, then you know the price you pay in terms of the relationship and the employee's morale when you don't tell the truth in a timely manner.

    This is why coaching is the hard stuff because it involves telling the truth. It takes courage to tell the truth. Most of us have been so programmed to withhold the truth, water it down, or outright lie that we don't know how to do it—and we are afraid to try because the few times we have tried it backfired.

    In the pages that follow we are going to replace your fear of telling the truth with insight and skill. Remember in the Jim Carrey movie Liar, Liar when he is forced to tell the truth as a result of a wish his young son made? He proceeds to tell everybody the whole truth and nothing but the truth. He goes from editing everything that goes through his mind to editing nothing and it is met with disastrous results. That's not what we are after.

The Question of Time

    If coaching is an ongoing process, how does a manager find the time to do anything else? There are still meetings to attend, projects to lead, reports to complete—you know the list. The problem of time is multiplied by the number of people and/or teams a manager is assigned to lead.

    Well, it's similar to parenting. The parenting never stops but it takes a number of different forms. Just like parenting is more than periodic heart-to-hearts, coaching is more than periodic coaching sessions. Your one-on-one coaching sessions or meetings are certainly one of the fundamental elements of the coaching process. Through these sessions the manager comes to metabolize his or her work experiences and learn from them. The coaching sessions, however, are only one part of the process.

    One of your primary jobs as a manager is to teach people how to be their own coach when you are not there. One of your first challenges is to get people excited about their own growth and development—to give them a curiosity about themselves. Once you get them past the fear of looking at their imperfections, which we will talk more about later, the process can be quite satisfying and rewarding.

    When people feel the sense of empowerment that comes from understanding one's self, taking full ownership of one's gifts and gaffes, and then changing themselves for the better, the process takes on a whole new meaning and spirit—for you and the people you are leading.

    The idea is to help people develop skills for self-reflection and self-understanding. The same or similar thought process you go through during your one-on-one meetings will, hopefully, be used by the person when you are not around.

    Part of your job is to orchestrate opportunities for learning and growth. These opportunities could take any number of forms. In fact, the more varied the better. Sometimes they may not be directly connected to work. You may, for example, suggest to the person that she see a certain movie—a movie that communicates a powerful message—that relates to something the coachee is struggling with in her interpersonal relationships at work.

    Those learning opportunities may consist of some of the more traditional ones, such as taking a course or meeting with a particular person. Again, the more creative you can be, the better. You need a big bag of tricks and techniques because what works with one person may not work for another.

    And, of course, it goes without saying, no matter who you are, the example you set is a constant form of coaching. When you model the very things you suggest to the person, he gets to see the concepts in action and the results. And remember, your relationship is the basis upon which the change will occur.

Meet the Author

Diane Tracy has more than 20 years’ experience as an internationally recognized author, speaker, and coach to executives in Fortune 500 companies and beyond. She has appeared on more than 150 radio and television talk shows and is a popular speaker to audiences worldwide on the subjects of leadership, management, creativity, change, and empowerment.

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