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Fighting fires. No Time to Coach.

Fighting fires. No Time to Coach.  My department has real challenges that need to be solved immediately.  I don’t have time to coach.  How can I build up my team and still make our deadlines?

Managers and department heads often struggle with what Charles Hummel described in his book, Tyranny of the Urgent.   The basic idea is that your greatest danger is letting the urgent crowd out the important.  When we are too busy responding to outward pressures, we are unable to execute the plan that sets our priorities.  If you find you do not have time to coach, perhaps you should first ask:  What impact would coaching have on my business?  How you answer this question will determine what true priority you place on coaching.  If you believe it is non-essential (something nice to do but not critical) or externally motivated (something you are being asked to do by leadership but not something you personally want to incorporate), you will likely not make coaching a true priority and it will be continually bumped for other urgent, “more important” tasks.  However, for those who truly believe in the power of coaching, creating time can still be difficult.   In this case, we want to look a bit deeper.  Is making time for true priorities a problem for you in other areas?  If so, you might want to explore time management and/or planning strategies.   There are many great books out there.  Some may recruit help from within the organization to help set a realistic plan for implementation and hold them accountable. Others may want to make small changes to see that it is possible and grow from there.   If you don’t typically have a challenge with managing time/priorities but you still can’t seem to make time for coaching, know that incorporating coaching is more than just another item on your todo list.  Coaching requires you to shift into a new pattern (a new way of being).  By definition, this new behavior is different.  As neuroscience has shown us, we tend to avoid what is new in favor of our old patterns.  Managers need to have compassion for themselves as they adopt and change their patterns.  Continual exposure will make it feel more normal and more likely to occur.