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Are you as good of a ‘coach’ as you think you are? 7 questions to consider


 Sports analogies are common among executives, with many considering themselves the head coach in the game — or at least the main cheerleader.

While assuming the top leadership role in an organization might seem to position an executive to also call themselves a coach, not all leaders demonstrate the depth of coaching skills that they think they do, according to The Harvard Business Review.

In one study, after examining data on 3,761 leaders who have completed self- and peer-assessments of their coaching skills, researchers found 24 percent of leaders in the sample had overrated their skills.

Further analysis found, on average, those who underrated their coaching skills were above average in overall coaching effectiveness, while those who had overrated themselves were significantly below average coaches, according to the report. These results are consistent with the phenomenon first described by two Cornell psychologists — David Dunning and Justin Kruger — who found that for any given skill, incompetent people fail to recognize their own deficiencies and also do not observe the skill in other people.

In other words, you may consider yourself an excellent coach, but you may actually be far worse than you think. However, “bursting the bubble of your illusion of superiority could be highly advantageous to your continued development as a leader,” according to the report.

Here are seven questions to consider for more accurate self-assessment of coach skills, according to the report.

1. Are you a good listener? Few people will admit they are a poor listener. Effective listeners do not judge, they show a desire to understand others and are willing to take the time to hear other people talk. The true test of being an effective listener is the way you respond to others. If you are defensive and resistant to what people have to say, they will not regard you as a good listener.

2. Do others see you as a role model? The best coaches are highly trusted and viewed as role models. They create open, trusting environments by offering guidance, giving credit to others and praising people’s accomplishments.

3. Are you collaborative? Effective coaches encourage their teams to cooperate and collaborate with others, while ineffective coaches are competitive. They act as if there are winners and losers in the organization, and compete for resources to propel themselves and their team.

4. Do you look for ways to develop others? The best coaches are willing to invest time in helping others develop new skills and preparing them for future opportunities.

5. Do you provide good feedback? Effective coaches help their teams grow by providing clear, honest and direct feedback about what they need to do to improve. However, they are sure to deliver the feedback in an empowering and constructive way.

6. Do you demonstrate integrity? It is imperative to be a model for class-act behavior. Great coaches honor commitments and do what is right regardless of personal consequence.

7. Do you encourage diversity? The best coaches respect people’s differences and treat everyone fairly regardless of age, gender or race. They don’t do this because of organizational policies, but because they recognize the value diversity brings to the team.