It is often stated that ''manger is a coach'' - I myself have written a text in this respect, somewhere on this blog. But for some years I really doubt! A manager has to be a manager - he has to have coaching features communicating with himself and the others - that's how he secures a steady learning process within himself and in the organization he manages to welcome organic development. But first is first - and this fragment on that huge financial scandal concerning Barings Bank highlight this: "Management teams have a duty to understand fully the businesses they manage". And, paying attention to this simple assertion one could easily seizes the undeniable difference: a coach is not an expert in client's activity. But a coach stewards for awareness - read attention - ,. and this is a necessary asset in any effective management approach. But not sufficient. It takes a qualified manager to do quality management!
As well as it takes a qualified coach to do quality coaching: a coach have a duty to understand fully the profession he/she does practice.
An interesting article on HBR Why management must be a profession.
About Barings collapse:
Even the provisional conclusions of the report are interesting. I should like to give them to the House so that we may be reminded what the supervisory body itself decided at the end of such investigation as it was able to make. It stated on page 250:
The words I venture to emphasise to your Lordships are these:
- "Barings' collapse was due to the unauthorised and ultimately catastrophic activities of, it appears, one individual (Leeson) that went undetected as a consequence of a failure of management and other internal controls of the most basic kind".
Noble Lords who have read through paragraph 14.2 of the report will be aware that it specifies these deficiencies. The report states:
- "as a consequence of a failure of management and other internal controls of the most basic kind".
Really! They really have to understand the businesses! I would have thought that it was an elementary assumption to make that the controllers should understand the nature of the businesses they are trying to control. The next requirement is this:
- "Management teams have a duty to understand fully the businesses they manage".
Hooray for that! I wonder how businesses in this country manage in their generality to continue without that qualification. The third requirement is:
- "Responsibility for each business activity has to be clearly established and communicated".
Tut, tut! We are now treating the real elementum of the whole art and science of management, and it needs to be repeated here. The report continues:
- "Clear segregation of duties is fundamental to any effective control system".
Hooray for that! These are matters of plain, ordinary common sense. One does not need to be an accountant or a management consultant to be aware of that. Finally:
- "Relevant internal controls, including independent risk management, have to be established for all business activities".
Well, well, well! These are all respects which this control body finds were absent from Barings. Do noble Lords really know what is being said? It is being said that Barings ought not to have been authorised bankers from the beginning, because any business — I do not care whether it is a whelk stall (one must not insult whelk stall owners in the context of this catastrophe) or what — knows that these are the basic conditions for the continuance of the business. It seems to me that the Bank of England ought never to have authorised this concern without verifying that all these conditions were in place.
- "Top management and the Audit Committee have to ensure that significant weaknesses, identified to them by internal audit or otherwise, are resolved quickly".
Source Testimony of Lord Bruce of Donington : "Lords Hansard text for 21 Jul 1995