Excelling in the role of chief player/coach

April 29, 2021
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CHROs must effectively manage all HR operations and work across the top leadership team to align the organization. Here are three key skills HR leaders need when serving as player and coach.

2020 made it clear that CHROs have to excel in a dual role: player/coach. They must continue fulfilling the player side of their role—handling core responsibilities such as designing compensation and benefits plans, implementing learning and development programs, and crafting hiring strategies. At the same time, as coaches, they must help their C-suite colleagues shine in their jobs. That means enabling them to act adaptively and effectively in response to increasingly urgent disruptions facing the organization.

Mastering the Player/Coach Role: Three Competencies

Every CHRO can excel as a player/coach by mastering three competencies:

  1. think systems;
  2. serve as keeper of the organization’s purpose and values; and
  3. be the organization’s strategic talent architect. By strengthening their prowess in these areas, CHROs can help the executive team effectively navigate the increasing disruption confronting organizations.

Excelling at the player/coach role isn’t easy. If you’re a CHRO who hasn’t yet mastered the coaching side of this dual role, you’ll want to do a thorough gut check to make sure you don’t stumble over common pitfalls. These include needing to be liked by your CEO and peers and thus shying away from delivering constructive feedback, needing to excessively control others, and falling for the inevitable political traps that come with the job.

By understanding these common pitfalls, you can more readily—and candidly—identify your own areas for development. Self-awareness, in turn, helps you guard against these and other risks and allows you to excel in this unique and vital role. The payoff? You’ll help your organization to not just ride out ongoing waves of disruption but also seize the new opportunities, now and in the future, that disruption presents.

This article originally appeared in SHRM Executive Network.


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