Massage Therapy Canada

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Practice Management: Spring 2007

Talk to any business manager and they’ll tell you the most stressed individual within the organization is probably them. Between juggling a full administrative load, catering to demanding clients, keeping track of scheduling and supplies and managing a large and diverse staff, they just may have reason to think so.


September 28, 2009
By Helen tsotsos

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Talk to any business manager and they’ll tell you the most stressed individual within the organization is probably them. Between juggling a full administrative load, catering to demanding clients, keeping track of scheduling and supplies and managing a large and diverse staff, they just may have reason to think so.

coach-990589.jpgThese managers will also tell you that, by far, some of the most daunting aspects of the job are dealing with the people that work for them. Getting people to show up on time, with the proper appearance and especially the proper attitude can leave managers pulling out their hair. Most have tried everything from micromanaging to simply firing poor performers, praying that the right person will come along.

The truth is that effective management is about sparking inspiration. By focusing on “coaching” staff to be the best they can be, managers can move away from the old paradigm of the taskmaster into the new paradigm of coach. By discarding the old values of management and focusing on igniting positive attitudes, mutual respect and loyalty, the manager will witness how this ultimately translates into satisfied clients and maximized revenues.

But how do you go about transforming your staff into a dream team? Simple. Commit body, mind and soul to being a coach. Coaching focuses on people first and processes second. It hinges on the core belief that we are all creative, resourceful and complete beings.

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A coach truly recognizes and appreciates the strengths, skills and talents each individual possesses. They support and encourage. They use an individual’s own goals and interests as motivation for progress.

To coach your staff, you need to have a detailed vision of what is possible. Linking the right people to the right work, leveraging strengths, focusing on improving weaknesses and filling in gaps are just a few ways to grow and develop the business and its people. Coaching is forward-oriented and may touch, but not dwell, on past performance.

Over time individuals start to feel increasingly valued for who they are, in turn motivating them to higher ideals. Eventually, behaviors and actions align with values, resulting in best performance, greater productivity, more harmony and a marked increase in overall efficiency.

Although coaching is a management technique that applies across many industries, it is particularly significant in a service setting.

Even though massage therapy exists primarily to service the physical needs of patients, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being also prove to be significant benefits. Why is it then that service providers don’t receive the same consideration? This is an area where many fall short.

In a recent study by the Hay Group, which polled over a million employees, one out of every three employees quits in the first two years because of ineffective managers. How can we ask our employees to service clients holistically if we don’t service our staff the same way?

Truly effective managers are those that understand people and fulfill their needs. Managers who are coaches require leadership abilities and the ability to serve with humanity and humility.

To inspire the best in people, one must recognize their best and encourage it. This may not be easy in the short term, but it is definitely worthwhile in the long term. Humility is essentially a trait that moves the coach out of a position of power and into a position of empowering. As one’s ego is pushed aside, the hierarchy crumbles.

Paradoxically, the coach emerges as a symbol of strength and leadership by modeling responsibility and accountability. Coaching is learning-based. As the manager takes the steps to ensure their optimal development, they too set the groundwork for their employee’s progress and development. Learning becomes the cornerstone of powerful evolution.

According to Joseph and Jimmy Boyett, in “The Guru Guide: The Best Ideas of the Top Management Thinkers,” leaders distinguish themselves from managers in that: leadership requires love; the best leaders are servants; and, you lead by giving to others.

Service leadership is a core function of the coach-manager role. According to top management thinkers, three fundamental shifts can reshape a manager into a leader:

  1. Leaders are those that can transition from strategist to visionary; they excite and entice.
  2. Leaders convey vision through powerful communication and build credibility by walking their talk.
  3. New leadership is essentially about removing barriers to progress.

An example of this is developing employee initiatives and supporting their ideas. In this model, leaders are agents of change and serve by clearing the path for progress.

As change happens, coach-managers consistently inspire and motivate their workforce, creating a commitment to the organization and gaining trust and respect by providing opportunities for personal and professional growth and development. Throughout this evolutionary process, the human element is paramount. Still, processes gradually rise in value to become aligned with human resources.

When coaching is embraced as the new managerial paradigm, the impact on the industry will be nothing short of transformational! The days of managers reporting they’re stressed and frustrated will be long gone. To the future!


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