They are two completely different repsonsibilities that require different skills and are done at different times in different circumstances.

And if you are the leader of an organization, charged with moving things forward, you end up doing both of them.  Knowing when to coach or lead or do both is pretty darn important.

Leading is about setting the direction, hopefully a visionary and exciting one that provides motivation.  Leading is about finding what is common among all members of the team (or maybe providing a common theme if one doesn’t exist).  It’s giving people something to  perform “to” or perform “around”  and constantly sending the message about how the team is doing.

Coaching is about improving the performance of each individual.  Based on where each is performing, or not performing as the case may be.  Some say it is drawing the best performance out of and individual.  And each person requires coaching specific to him/herself.

The leader improves things by getting the team to reach to the vision. The coach improves things by getting each individual to perform better and having everyone’s collective improvements add up.

Some are leaders, some are coaches, but to really succeed as a CEO you must be both.

In the next few days I’ll be posting more on both coaching and leading.