Leadership, Management, and Coaching

POSTED ON December 20, 2018

At a certain level we all know there are differences between Leadership, Management and Coaching. However, many of us seem to confuse the different roles all together and most importantly, in the light speed operations of the retail automotive, know when and how to switch to these different dynamics. Why are these roles so critical in today’s automotive environment? That is our discussion for today.

First, I want to challenge you with a little brain teaser. Can you quickly write the definition of Leadership, Management, and Coaching? Don’t cheat and Google the definition, really think about what separates each of these from one another. After you have written your definition, then go to Google. Did you describe each one accurately? Did Webster’s give you a definition you can assimilate into your daily duties in the dealership?

I took this challenge many years ago while reading the book “How to Coach Anyone on Anything.” I was absolutely surprised by how hard it was to accurately depict the differences, and more importantly, I immediately started thinking what it took to be a master of each. What would it look like in the daily operations of an Automotive Dealership if your Team of Department Head had mastered each of these critical roles?

Next, rank yourself from 1 to 10 on each dynamic. What keeps you from being a 10? What makes you a 10 in the daily operation of an automotive dealership? Similarly, with your lower scores, what is preventing you from improving these scores? Why are your Management Teams accepting a 6 when they could be a 10?

Over the past 35 years in the Automotive Industry, I have come to recognize expertise in each area. I have written and executed plans to address them and have seen these attributes become major separators in the stores that are marginally profitable and the 25% plus Net to Gross operations.
What would a 10 look like in each category? Here are a few ideas from me, and a definition of each from “How to Coach Anyone on Anything” by Germaine Porsche and Jed Niederer. This book is a great place to start in growing your expertise and talents in the Coaching arena.


Leadership: Declaring a future and enrolling people into making that future happen.

  • Does everyone in the store know what the organizational chart looks like?

  • Are your Mission Statement and Value guidelines known by employees and customers?

  • Do you lead by example and exude your Mission and Values daily? Do you make decisions on customer and employee issues with these mandates in mind?

  • Does every employee have a job description and do your department heads have a daily checklist of their critical duties?

  • Does your training plan grow your people to achieve high level performance in each category and the ability to execute the mission and value statements?

  • Is there a mechanism to accurately create an Annual, Quarterly, Weekly and Daily Budget/Forecast that is established with your department heads? Does this forecast get pushed down to every producer in a way that “They know if they won at work today?”

  • Have you created a daily D.O.C.?

  • Do you hold strategic monthly management meetings analyzing F.S./Composites to find opportunities?

  • Do you write definitive action plans that will drive Gross Per Employee, Decrease Expense, Manage Inventories that drive their Turn, all leading to an increase in Net Profit?

  • What is your Net to Gross Target for the store and each department?


Management: Coordinating people and materials to accomplish specific milestones/objectives, which will make the declared future happen.

  • Have you completed a personality profile on each manager and do you know how to best lead, coach and manage them?

  • Do your variable department heads start their day early with a meeting that drives highly efficient handling of all your opportunities to do business? Is this “Save a Deal/Make a Deal” meeting in writing and the information needed well defined?

  • Do your managers participate in a daily used vehicle “Trade Walk/Stock Walk” early in the day?

  • Do your fixed operations managers help facilitate the drive process in the morning?

  • Do your fixed and variable operations managers communicate to all their producers on how they are tracking for the month versus objectives on chosen KPI’S first thing in the day? Is this information posted?

  • Is there a sales meeting daily for fixed operations as well?

  • Are your producers required to provide documentation on what they accomplished at the end of the day?

  • Do your manager’s use the D.O.C. to stay on target and drive performance?

  • Do we understand what a “Red Alert” meeting is, how to properly perform them, and one of the main reasons a well-designed D.O.C creates them?

  • Are your department heads a 10 on systems usage? DMS, CRM, Used Vehicle Inventory Optimization Tools?

  • Do they have scheduled meetings with any vendor that facilitates process execution, lead creation, etc.? Examples include Auto Trader, Cars.com, vAuto, AAX, First Look, or any vendor you are spending money that you can use their knowledge and reporting capabilities.

Coaching: facilitating people in their own commitment and enthusiasm to accomplish their objectives.

  • What motivates each employee? How do you know?

  • Do they feel like they are an important part of the team? How?

  • Is training part of your store’s budget? Is it broken out by department for producers and management? Do we train based on what the data tells us? Is your management training all tactical or built around growing leaders, managers and coaches?

  • Do you have reward mechanisms built in that drive Self Esteem?

  • Do you conduct crucial conversations to ensure that you are crystal clear on what the targets and objectives are?

  • Do you then respond accordingly to positive and negative performance, and do your people feel they have a voice?

  • Does your Coaching recognize the difference between activity and action?


As you can see, building quality Coaches, Leaders, and Managers in every department of your dealership takes a lot of time and effort. However, the results of growing your people in your business will end up paying you back year after year.

If you would like to discuss how you can begin to increase ESI, CSI and Net to Gross Profits, our automotive experts are ready to help you with our NCM 20 Groups, scheduling in-dealership consulting, or with leadership and management training with NCMi. Together, we can help pack your dealership with Leaders, Managers, and Coaches.