Looking for the Gold

In Dr. Lee J. Colan’s book, Leadership Matters, he shares the following under the chapter titled “Coaching”.

“At one time, Andrew Carnegie was the wealthiest man in America….At one time, he had 43 millionaires working for him.  In those days, a millionaire was a rare person.

A reporter asked Carnegie how he had hired 43 millionaires.  Carnegie responded that those men had not been millionaires when they started working for him but had become millionaires as a result.

The reporter’s next question was, “How did you develop these men to become so valuable to you that you have paid them this much money?”  Carnegie replied that men are developed the same way gold is mined.  When gold is mined, several tons of dirt must be moved to get an ounce of gold, but one doesn’t go into the mine looking for dirt – one goes in looking for gold!

Some leaders find themselves sitting on a mountain of gold, and yet they feel poor because they don’t know how to mine the gold from their teams.  Coaching is how we mine our team’s gold.

Inspiring leaders coach good team members to become better people.  They help them build better lives for themselves and others.  They build their team from the inside out…inspiring excellence at work and in life.”

Dr. Colan goes on to talk about coaching is more than merely talking at an employee.  Talking alone won’t result in retention of information/training/skill building.  Dr. Colan states that “we generally remember:

  • 10% of what we read (memos, books)
  • 20% of what we hear (instructions)
  • 30% of what we see (looking at pictures)
  • 50% of what we hear and see (watching a movie, looking at an exhibit, watching a demonstration)
  • 70% of what we say (participating in a discussion, giving a talk)
  • 90% of what we both say and do (simulating the real thing, doing the real thing)

Coaching is a pay-me-now or pay-me-later leadership proposition.  Take a shortcut and you will be saying the same thing to the same team member next week – no fun for either of you….Inspiring leaders prevent re-coaching by investing the time to coach right the first time.”

One thought on “Looking for the Gold

  1. It is so important for a leader to coach their people. Like you said, it brings out the gold in them. Great post.

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