While recently observing business periodicals, I have seen the following words thrown around a lot. “Leadership. Management. Coaching.” They have particularly been focused on the role of executives in these areas. However, what has left me perturbed is how often I have been seeing them used interchangeably.

But what is the difference? And what does it look like? These are somewhat amorphous words that describe an aspect of something (or someone) rather than the actual thing. What I am asserting in this blog, however, is where these words become distinct, is in the conversations executives are having.

Each day, executives around the world traffic in each of these disciplines, however, many may be numb to the fact that it is what they are doing. By getting clear about each of these conversations, how to deploy them, and leveraging all three intentionally, you will gain many avenues to success and becoming a transformational leader.

Leadership

Leaders invent the future for their enterprise and speak it into existence. The leader’s job here is to create a future so compelling and unpredictable given the circumstances, that the rest of the organization can see themselves in, and are enrolled in, bringing it to fruition. Fundamentally, leadership is concerned with creating a powerful vision of the future.

Leaders are concerned with making something possible.  The test is empowerment. To determine if you are passing the test, look to see if you and others around you are empowered out of the future you are speaking and standing for.

Management

Great managers translate vision into action. Fundamentally, management is concerned with productivity, results, and the product at the end of the day.

Management actually enables leadership and makes it possible. The vision in a leadership conversation inspires and informs the content in a management conversation. Without the former, the latter is a fool’s errand. Generating a high volume of those focused actions, when in alignment with the inspired vision, will catalyze breakthrough performance and results. Managers are concerned with making something happen.  Managers have power when they change their fixation on results to a focus on action.

Coaching

Coaches open up new possibilities for how to get the job done effectively and with satisfaction and growth.  Coaching is fundamentally concerned with performance, learning, and development, often at the individual level.

A coach facilitates and moderates the tension between challenge and safety. The safer a coach can make it, the more learning can occur. A coach is 100% on the side of the player. Coaching is also elective, whereas management is mandated.  It comes with being hired for the job. Coaching requires an environment of choice and volunteerism.

Which of these three conversations are you strong in? Which could you use some help in crafting or enabling?

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