Case Study Analysis Paper 2: A Tale of Two Coaches (Benchmark Assessment)
Case Study Analysis Paper 2: A Tale of Two Coaches
The Robert Katz model emphasizes on the need for a leader to have three skills namely conceptual skills, human skills and technical skills. Michael Mumford also agrees on the significance of skills and competencies and in his model, Mumford cites individual attributes, environmental influences, leadership outcomes, competencies, and career experiences as some of the most important components of good leadership (Northouse, 2012). While the two coaches in this case had some substantial interaction, they were not entirely similar in terms of their skill sets.
Coach Knight had both, technical and conceptual skills but he significantly lacked human skills. The coach also has the appropriate level of career experience and environmental influences; however, he lacks in terms of individual attributes considering the fact that he has a temper and seems to enjoy intimidating others. Coach Knight, however, did not have the skills needed to interact fruitfully with a lot of people. Most of the team members and those he worked with were rather intimidated, if not threatened by him instead of being challenged, motivated or inspired by his abilities as a coach. Coach Knights success can be attributed to his technical and conceptual skills. He is able to not only come up with an effective play but also to teach his players how to go about winning the game. This combination of skills ensures that he can turn the performance of any team into a winning streak.
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Coach K on the other hand had both, conceptual and human skills. He was good with relationships, and did not just train the players in basketball but also encouraged them to form lasting relationships with one another both on and off the field. He was however lacking in technical skills and this affected the quality of his teams games. The lack of technical skills however does not imply that Coach K did not register any success in his career. First, it is evident that Coach K was able to consistently inspire his players beyond the basketball court. As such, they respected him enough to follow his instructions and consult with him on all matters that could affect the teams performance. In the end, Coach K is able to use his human skills to his advantage for the benefit of the teams performance.
According to the Blake and Mouton managerial grid, Coach K is a team manager with a high focus on both, the people and the tasks at hand while Coach Knight is an Authority-Obedience manager with a higher focus on tasks than on people (Snook, Perlow, and Delacey, 2005). The first similarity that these coaches have is with regards to their focus on tasks. As coaches, they need their teams to win games and thus, they are both interested in posting favorable game results at all times. There is, however, a slight difference even within this similarity. Coach K lacks in technical skills. This means that while he may be fully focused on the task, he has some limitations that compel him to focus elsewhere more than he focuses on the task. He is committed to making his team win but he uses his human skills more to compensate for the lacking technical skills. This explains why his position on Blake and Moutons managerial grid is not at the extreme corner indicating high on task. He does focus on task but he needs his focus on people to get him to accomplish the task ahead.
The difference between these two coaches however, is that while one is high on people the other one is low. Coach K has human skills, and this means that he has a good working relationship with his team members. He understands them and thus considers their needs and expectations, often allowing them to make their own decisions provided that they do not do anything that is detrimental to the team. Coach Knight, however, is not really interested in the personal lives of his team players. He appreciates them when they act according to his rules, and he seems to be having frequent altercations implying that he lacks the ability to interact successfully with the players outside the field (Snook, Perlow, and Delacey, 2005). His obvious lack of human skills in this case can be seen as detrimental to the team since most of the players are unable to stand him and eventually they choose to leave his team. However, the coach is able to capitalize on his impressive technical and conceptual skills to get the team to where they want to be.