The Difference Between Coaching Needs and Character Issues

Leaders, how do you determine if your teammate needs more coaching, or if the issue at hand goes much deeper, involving the individual’s character?

  • Remember, every student learns differently from different leaders, so avoid jumping to quick conclusions. While one leader may cast a challenge off as a character issue, another may be able to motivate and inspire performance. Err to the positive. You may lose a few times and be disappointed, but you will have far more wins in your career by not judging too early in the game.
  • Keeping the first point in mind, you can’t fix character, and it’s a non-negotiable for building high-performing and trusting cultures.
  • Know poor character when you see it.  Poor character includes lying, manipulating or spinning the truth, “me first” decision-making, erroneous reporting, choosing wrong over right, and just generally being untrustworthy.
  • Don’t delay in addressing the character issue at hand. Address concerns early, give clear expectations of character values, and terminate if it doesn’t improve.

When to Terminate

I dislike talking about terminating employees, because as a leader, I like to build teams and develop leaders, not remove them. However, there are three scenarios when you must stop working to improve the situation and terminate:

  • When you’ve given it your all and there is still a performance or character issue.
  • When your reputation or character is in question because you’ve chosen to do nothing.
  • When the company is in harm’s way due to this person remaining on the team.

As a leader, you are a steward of the people’s growth but not to the detriment of stewarding the company’s well-being.

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