The story I’m about to share with you is over 2,600 years old, yet its morals still apply to any manager today who wants to coach their staff.

It was told by the Greek fabulist named Aesop; you may have heard of him. He was a slave who lived in sixth century BC and eventually was freed by his master. This fable is called “The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing.”

A hungry wolf stalked a flock of sheep, but couldn’t grab one as his next meal because the shepherd protected them so well from the predators in order to feed his family. Having a plan, the wolf found a discarded sheepskin, placed it over his fur and crawled into the middle of the flock without the shepherd noticing.

Instead of pouncing on the nearest lamb and making his escape, the wolf decided to wait until nighttime when the flock was safely locked up and the shepherd was eating supper with his family.

“I’ll have my pick of the flock,” the wolf thought, “Enjoy a most delicious meal, and slip away unseen.”
© 2009 Heritage House Publishing, Inc.
But, that evening, the shepherd decided to have a feast with his family and friends from the neighboring village. So he went to the sheep pen in the dark, reached in and grabbed the first sheep he could put his hands on, which turned out to be the wolf— who also turned out to be dinner.

That’s the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

The first moral of Aesop’s fable is “Things aren’t always as they appear” and there is a second moral which is “strike while the iron is hot”

Let’s address the first one because you may have come across managers who are like wolves in sheep’s clothing. They want you to believe that they are genuinely interested in people but really, their intentions are more focused on what they want from you rather than what might be best for you. They try to appear sincere but their real focus is elsewhere.
And if you are Gen Y I suspect that you would have seen straight through their pretence.

If you are managing staff aged 20 – 30, typically Generation Y, what I’m about to say is very important and you can read a lot more about this in the research done by Peter Sheahan, arguably the leader on Gen Y in Australia.

“Gen Y are typically impatient to get the best they can as quickly as they can and they will move on to find it if you don’t deliver.
• They are impatient for the best and to get it as fast as possible
• They are very tech savvy, they have grown up with technology and find it easy and have a real need to be connected.
• They see ways to fast track everything and make them more efficient and find short cuts and exploit loopholes to get there faster.
• What they value is work life balance – meaningful work, money, technology. If they are going to spend their time at work it had better be meaningful.
• They Value People who ACT, don’t just talk Generation Y will test you to see if you are for real, if you will hold them accountable. If you do, they respect you more.
• They have a natural inclination to question everything
• They have what Peter Sheahan describes as highly developed built in BS detectors on their foreheads which ring loudly at any insincerity, ulterior motive or dishonesty. It’s the way they are wired.
• They respond very well to coaching because they get to speak their mind and make decisions about their future. In fact they thrive in a coaching environment.

These are the leaders of tomorrow.

If you are one of them or are leading one of them, know that coaching skills will fast track this generation because they respond so well to it.

They will model and adopt your coaching behavior and share it with others. The part YOU play can therefore have a huge impact on the leaders of tomorrow.

Managers, who are up front, tell the truth and have a genuine interest in their staff’s development - proven by the way they act, will make great

However, if your intention is to use coaching to get them to do what you want them to do, then your coaching will be ineffective.

So are you a wolf or are you ready to be a Coach who honestly has your staff’s interest at heart? It’s a choice all managers must make.

Author's Bio: 

Juliette Robertson is an Executive Coach offering webinar based Coach Training for new managers in "How to Coach Your Staff. Her 7 module coach training is globally accessible on-line and perfect for busy new managers who want the benefits of e-learning and access to qualified coaching tutors to help fast track their coaching skills.

To register for 60 minutes of free webinar based Coach Training, visit

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