The more I’m involved with the automobile business and the more I observe other businesses, the more I realize we in the business world have got it all wrong when it comes to management. Specifically the word manager.
In business, people are often given the title of "Manager." Sometimes it’s truly a gift because they were next "up," and sometimes they worked very hard to get it. Most people who are managers think of themselves as, well, uhh, managers. They’ve been told they are a manager so they go about their business of managing people, systems, and processes.
I looked the word manager up and here’s what I found: "Somebody who is responsible for directing and controlling the work and staff of a business, or of a department within it."
I can’t argue that is more or less the definition that most people work from. When working with and leading people I believe we would be much better served by replacing the word "manager" with the word "coach."
Like many of you reading this, my life has been impacted in one way or another by sports. Whether you played sports or if you are simply a sports fan, the odds are you can relate to the field of sports and the influence it has had on you one way or another.
When I first got out of college I was a head football coach at a private military academy, Frederick Military Academy in Portsmouth, VA. The reality is that all throughout my career I’ve always seen myself as a coach not a manager.
If you think about what we do, at least those who do it well, we are always coaching. It’s just like being a head football coach. As a head coach your focus is to coach the players and the assistant coaches. It never ends. If you have a coaches meeting then you are reviewing the practice, schedule, game plan, etc. When you’re on the field with the players you are coaching technique, disciplines, conditioning, teamwork, attitudes, and the importance of "getting it right."
Coaching takes place on and off the field just as it does with you in the dealership. Coaching is nothing but "selling." If you’re a coach of an athletic team you are selling players and assistant coaches on why they need to buy into whatever it is you’re trying to get across. This is no different than the business you’re in. You’re constantly selling someone on your team as to how and why to do things a certain way.
So, how much better off would we be if we all really took it to heart that we are no longer managers but "coaches" and that every minute that we are in front of our team our number one focus is to coach, coach and coach some more?
Top coaches are always looking for that competitive edge.
Getting a competitive edge means seeking information, testing the waters, trying a new play, attending a coaching workshop, and pushing yourself harder than you’re pushing the team.
Top coaches communicate with other top coaches. (20 Groups.) Top coaches hire other coaches who are smarter than they are with specific skills to help the team win. Top coaches know what they don’t know. Top coaches hire me.
Here’s a little sidebar that you may find interesting. I’ve been in the used car and leadership training business now going on 11 years. During those 11 years, of the thousands of dealers and managers who I’ve trained I can only think of a couple that were really struggling and in the end just didn’t make it.
It’s really strange that dealers who are unsuccessful don’t hire me and those who hire me are already successful. They are already making money. Like any good coach they know they can do better. They know there is more to be had. They know the team needs to hear it from an outside coach once in a while.
Great coaches are givers of information and they seek information to make them and their team better.
Coach, thanks for reading my material. That’s all I’m gonna say. Coach Gibbs