It’s a little cliché but a favorite movie of mine is Top Gun. At the end of movie Iceman says to Maverick, “You can be my wingman anytime.” A wingman is a pilot who supports another pilot in a potentially dangerous flying environment, keeping his aircraft near the wing of the other’s. A key element is trust.
Create a Bond
Coaching an employee is similar. It creates a support bond with a person. To serve someone, it’s essential to be straight with them. They need to trust that you are giving them the straight story, not just what they want to hear.
All of us have choice in our behavior. Coaching is about creating behavioral choice for someone to comport themselves in a way that illicits understanding and follower-ship. You must understand their goals and challenges and forge a climate of discovery and achievement. Often, you live through their challenges with them.
The coaching road can be challenging but having a bond of understanding and belief in someone is core to development. You have to see the possibility in someone. You have to believe in them, often before they believe in themselves.
By adding the right, tailored context to behavior experimentation an executive can learn in real-time how to augment their default behavior into behavior that produces the best result. As this occurs, the joint fulfillment is priceless. You’ve created a trusting relationship and they know you, as their wingman, have their back.
Did you ever have a supervisor that acted as your wingman as you developed your career? Tell us about it with a reply below. Thanks. -SG