comparison between leaders and managers

“Management is doing things right; Leadership is doing the right things.” – Peter Drucker

On my most recent Mastermind Group Call, I was asked about how hard it is to coach managers versus leaders. A pretty loaded question and one that’s not so simple to answer. People were focused more on the coaching then the person being coached. The coaching experience can be many things to many people depending on the coach and in the case of this article…the individual(s) being coached.

  • I believe coaching can be many things to many people, but the one thing coaching can’t be is a quick fix.

I say this to you because what I want to share is purely a model for reference – not a model for coachingBelow is in part what I shared with the group:

My background and training as an ontological coach allows me to focus not just on the actions individuals are taking but rather intuitively examine where those actions stem from – more specifically “who they are being.” This type of coaching I believe is incredibly powerful and allows the coach to go beyond what’s in front of them and look deeper into the emotional root cause that has a manager or leader do what they do.

The first step is to understand that managers and leaders are by definition of role, very different people – however they are commonly referred to as cut from the same cloth. Sure there are many similarities depending on where they work and who they support but in the end, there are also many differentiators. There are numerous articles defining each group and here is one excerpt from a recent HBR article, which I believe, begins to sum it up nicely:

  • Management consists of controlling a group or a set of entities to accomplish a goal. Leadership refers to an individual’s ability to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward organizational success. Influence and inspiration separate leaders from managers, not power and control.

Whether you believe this to be true or emphatically argue otherwise, the one common theme we can all agree on is that there are some key fundamental differences between managers and leaders.

The following model is what I shared with my group and a go-to reference for when I work with managers and leaders.

  • What this IS: A model, like the hundreds that currently exist for this subject.
  • What this is NOT: A model for how not to coach someone or a process to follow.
  • When to USE IT: Before, During and/or After a coaching engagement.
  • How to USE IT: It can provide you a great foundation and listening (for “context”) so you can be (more) present and attentive to the person you are working with and the challenges they are facing.

Final thoughts: I realize I may get some push back on the legitimacy of this model and the definitions/terms used. I would argue (and agree) that some of the language presents strong and unfair stereotypes especially around the manager – but for the most part: it’s a great starting point for both starting a conversation, better understanding who you are speaking with and uncovering what’s motivating their behavior and subsequent actionsI did not create this model but I am happy I found it and hopefully you will find the value in it as well.

The floor is yours: How do you support Managers vs. Leaders?

Please leave your comment below as your insights are greatly appreciated and a learning opportunity for everyone reading this article.

With leadership,

Joshua /

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