Organizations have culture. They have subcultures. Schein makes the point that culture defines leadership. (See Edgar H. Schein’s www.tnellen.com/ted/tec/schein.html). Leaders, people with social influence, contribute to culture and are guided by culture. Good leaders and good managers therefore “must work from a more anthropological model.” (Schein nailed this one.)
That said, in my experience, groups like those who labor on social justice issues, spiral into chaos because leaders do not pay attention to organizational culture and are inconsistent. My point here is that staff or volunteers are expected to perform according to unclear standards. Almost everyone agrees on some aspect of the organization (this usually focuses on the social justice issue at hand, pick one). The raison d’être is what motivated them to join or work for the organization. Yet when it comes to managing them and improving their work performance, leaders have a hard time. I believe the main reason is that leaders spend a lot of time talking about the issues, full of energy and emotion, and less time about how a person should be doing things in the organization, ahem, the work.
Coaching is a way to improve performance. I believe it is congruent with the values of helping people learn and grow. Organizational leaders need to translate how things are done, culture, to new people and be flexible enough to know when the-way-thing-are-done needs to change. Coaching shares the same values as mentoring, being connected to another person and helping them improve.
Do you expect people to just know how things should be done? Or can you explain to people how to do it?