As a tennis coach, you have a lot of responsibilities. Working hard is good, but it is also important to delegate tasks to other people. When you are a head coach, you must delegate some tasks to your assistant coaches. When you are coaching at a club, you must delegate some tasks to committee members of the club.
Delegating doesn't mean that your assistant coaches or committee members are doing all the work and you are relaxing at home. Delegating means that a part of your job gets done by an assistant coach or committee member, in order to have more time for other tasks. You explain the job and guide the assistant coach or committee member, and at the end you're checking if he did his job correctly.
In this blog I'll try to explain the WHY, HOW and WHEN of delegating.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO DELEGATE?
Even "Super You" needs help and support. There is no shame in asking for help. Put aside your pride and show respect for the talent others can bring to the table.
People don't delegate because it takes a lot of upfront effort. Two key reasons why it's better to delegate the task to someone else.
1. You can save time and use this time to focus on your own work.
2. You develop those people's skills and abilities. This means that next time a similar project comes along, you can delegate the task with high confidence that it will be done well, with much less involvement from you.
Delegation allows you to make the best use of your time and skills, and it helps other people in the team grow and develop to reach their full potential in the organization.
HOW CAN YOU BEST DELEGATE TASKS?
Start by specifying the outcome you desire to the people you trust to deliver it. Establish controls, identify limits to the work and provide sufficient support, but resist upward delegation. Keep up to date with progress, and focus on results rather than procedures. Finally, when the work is completed, give recognition where it's deserved.
WHEN SHOULD YOU DELEGATE TASKS?
Delegation is a win-win when done appropriately, however, that does not mean that you can delegate just anything. To determine when delegation is most appropriate, there are five
key questions you need to ask yourself:
1. Is there someone else who has (or can be given) the information or expertise to
complete the task? Essentially, is this a task that someone else can do, or is it critical that
you do it yourself?
2. Does the task provide an opportunity to grow and develop another person's skills?
3. Is this a task that will occur, in a similar form, in the future?
4. Do you have enough time to delegate the job effectively? Time must be available for
adequate training, for questions and answers, for opportunities to check progress, and for
rework if that is necessary.
5. Is this a task I should delegate? Tasks critical for long-term success (for example, the way
how to teach tennis) genuinely needs your attention.
If you can answer "yes" to at least some above questions, then it could well be worth delegating this job.
TO WHOM SHOULD YOU DELEGATE TASKS?
This depends on the following:
1. The experience, knowledge and skills of the assistant coach or committee
2. The assistant coach's or committee members preferred work style
3. The current workload of this assistant coach or committee member
Use the following principles to delegate successfully:
1. Clearly articulate the desired outcome. Begin with the end in mind and specify the
2. Clearly identify constraints and boundaries.
Where are the lines of authority, responsibility and accountability?
3. Where possible, include other people in the delegation process.
Empower them to decide what tasks are to be delegated to them and when.
4. Match the amount of responsibility with the amount of authority.
5. Delegate to the lowest possible organizational level.
The coaches/committee members who are closest to the work are best suited for the task.
6. Provide adequate support and be available to answer questions.
7. Focus on results. Concern yourself with what is accomplished, rather than detailing how
the work should be done.
8. Avoid "upward delegation". If there is a problem, don't allow the assistant
coach/committee member to shift responsibility for the task back to you.
9. Build motivation and commitment. Provide recognition where deserved.
10. Establish and maintain control.
Explain why the assistant coach or committee member is chosen for the job, what's expected from them during the project, the goals you have for the project, all timelines and deadlines and the resources on which they can draw. Agree a schedule for checking in with progress updates. Lastly, make sure that the assistant coach or committee member knows you want to know if any problems occur, and that you are available for questions or guidance needed as the work progresses.
At first sight, delegation can feel like more hassle than it's worth, however by delegating effectively, you can hugely expand the amount of work that you can deliver.
When you arrange the workload so that you are working on the tasks that have the highest priority for you, and assistant coaches or committee members are working on meaningful and challenging assignments, you have a recipe for success.
To delegate effectively, choose the right tasks to delegate, identify the right person to delegate to, and delegate in the right way.
There's a lot to this, but you'll achieve so much more once you're delegating effectively!