"The growth of your business is directly related to your own personal growth."

~ Jeffrey Summers, Founder|Principal Summers Hospitality Group

Coaching For Growth – At The Unit Level

Creating the proper culture of leadership in an organization is essential for high employee performance and long-term business success. Leadership skills should be developed internally so that talented employees can be prepared to assume leadership roles in the future.

However, the challenges of building a new leadership training program or improving an existing program can be a daunting task. The biggest challenge for most consultants is that all too often they make their plans without a full understanding of the client organization’s overall business goals and objectives, and what the client ends up with is a “one-size-fits-all” training curriculum or program that is too limited in scope to impact business outcomes in either the short or long term.

Summers Hospitality Group® doesn’t believe in “one-size-fits-all” programs, nor do we engage in creating a program without first taking the time to fully understand your company and its unique needs by:

  1. Reviewing your organization’s strategic business goals and objectives. This process usually includes extensive interviews with current senior managers, partners or operators.
  2. Reviewing and analyzing the current culture to determine the strengths to be leveraged and the opportunities for innovation. This part of the process includes extensive interviews and observation with unit level managers, staff and a sampling of your core guest or customer base
  3. Reviewing and understanding the current and future levels of talent necessary to achieve the company’s strategic goals and objectives. This part is provided by our own extensive knowledge and experience from working with successful companies all over the country for the past 30+ years.
  4. Reviewing the current level of resources and commitment to executing a change process that can innovate through the existing gaps in experience and organizational knowledge and provide the necessary foundation for sustainable long term growth. (Part 1 + Part 2 = Part 4)

Then and only then, do we create the change curriculum and execute the training and coaching programs necessary to overcome those gaps, ensuring that the organization has the necessary and sustainable, high performance culture to achieve its goals and objectives for the long term.

We create the plan, including performance metrics, execute the plan, and conduct the necessary follow-up to tweak or modify the program to account for unforeseen variables either in the program content or individual or team performance.

Who benefits from this program?

  • Potential Managers
  • Shift Managers
  • Unit Managers
  • An Entire Unit Management Team
  • Multi-Unit Managers

These programs can last for as little as one week or they can last for up to a year or more depending on the size and scope of the organization and the change necessary to position the company for sustainable long term success.

The cost of a program of this nature varies based on our level of participation but it is always based on a flat fee once the scope of the engagement and it’s outcomes have been defined and itemized and the goals and objectives have been agreed to by all stakeholders.

Manager Coaching Is Not Executive Coaching

A shortcoming of many coaching efforts aimed at managers (or the expectations set on managers) is to attempt to duplicate the approaches of executive or professional coaching programs. Naturally, there is plenty of overlap in the philosophy, techniques and targeted outcomes. But when it comes to developing managers as coaches there are three important factors we need to bear in mind:

  1. The manager is committed to coaching…to a point. Unlike the many professionals who embrace coaching as a career, managers rightly view this as just one component of their role. They will seek to balance coaching with more direct management tasks as well as completing their own work.
  2. The manager is not an independent agent, detached from the outcomes of the coaching. Even in the most trusting of reporting relationships, it is understood that the manager retains a certain degree of self-interest in the coaching. The manager must keep each direct report on-task and committed. They expect to see a tangible return on their own coaching efforts, preferably in the short term.
  3. The manager is far more knowledgeable about their specific business than an external coach. Managers have a bias for action, typically years of experience in the direct report’s role plus a lot of knowledge of the situation at hand. Unlike an external coach, the temptation to be prescriptive is great.

With these differences in mind, coaching efforts must seek to support managers in tapping into coaching approaches where it makes sense. But expecting the manager to put all self-interest to one side or pretend to act temporarily as an objective third party is counterproductive.

The Bottom Line

Coaching remains a key skill for managers to develop, and one that is growing in importance as organizations seek to remain nimble in response to a fast-changing environment. Traditional processes and management approaches are not, in themselves, flexible enough to adapt to changing business needs. Coaching is.

Managers may be unclear about what is expected of them, or even the value the organization places on coaching. Direct reports are looking for pragmatic advice and support that respects their independence and autonomy.

By building trusting relationships and balancing both the needs of the coachee and the business outcomes, managers can foster a team environment in which all members are open to giving and receiving feedback.

As organizations look to build stronger coaching cultures, key factors to consider include reinforcing a belief in coaching, developing senior leaders who can model coaching, and providing training that goes beyond coaching skills and establishes the belief and context required for success.

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How I Work

I help operators become more successful by identifying where and how to build the most value. I assist them in growing store networks, localizing assortments, building omnichannel capabilities, launching new formats or improving cost positions, to name just a few.

I combine deep operational expertise with experience in all major categories and functional areas. I bring an external, practical perspective to business challenges and opportunities using proven tools and rigorous, fact-based analysis. I collaborate with clients to create the desired outcomes.

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