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Predictive Advantage

Why being able to coach your employees makes you a better manager

Posted by: sabine-robinson


The findings of the CIPD Learning and Skills at work survey show that companies have prioritised learning interventions that span both formal learning and more informal learning support with coaching topping the chart. The survey also uncovered an increased investment in digital tools used to support coaching and mentoring. It is encouraging to find that organisations have maintained a focus on mentoring and coaching initiatives and programmes to offer a more holistic approach.

But why?

Changing any aspect of your life, be it professionally or privately, does not only require a huge amount of energy and resolution but often a good advisor too – someone who is able to help you to judge things objectively, who has experience with comparable situations and problems, and is nevertheless able to suggest individual solutions.

In our private lives, we would naturally turn to a trusted friend or a close member of our family to help us work through these issues and arrive at a solution.

It is therefore not surprising to learn that more and more people who find themselves professionally stuck in a rut or at a crossroads turn to a coach. As a manager, you should expect to be – or become – the first port of contact for any developmental issues or when guidance is needed.

Employees may need help when trying to answer the wealth of questions that emerge in those situations without input from others, particularly when they might involve making difficult decisions.

Is my career path right for me? Why have I not been offered a promotion? Should I take the risk of changing jobs or positions? How do I manage my time better? How can I improve my self-confidence? I want a change but what next? Do I need further training?

The CIPD Coaching and Mentoring Factsheet shows that organisations typically see coaching as a day-to-day management activity which is embedded into one-to-one meetings and performance conversations. Are you prepared?

Being unable to take on the role of a coach doesn’t make you a bad manager, but it means that you neglect a very effective tool for developing and retaining talent and for honing essential leadership skills.

There are many professional coaching courses out there that can help you to evaluate and develop your coaching skills and provide methods to design and implement coaching strategies for your people. Being able to pull and adapt the essential coaching skills of listening, asking effective questions and providing appropriate feedback from your managerial toolkit is a great start.

What does coaching mean?

To coach another person means to take their individual goals seriously, give an honest evaluation, and then be prepared to offer support along the way. A coaching manager can help with clearing blockages, when other possible approaches have failed. As a manager – and a coach – it falls to you to know and learn the individual aspirations, strengths and development needs of each member of your team.

To get to know your employees very well, you have to make time to find out what drives them, build connections between the requirements of their job and the overall organisational strategy, provide timely feedback, and offer ongoing nurturing and developmental support.

So, what are the benefits of being a coaching manager?

  • Enhances overall organisational performance

Coaching helps the members of your team to identify, understand, and leverage their own strengths to achieve results. Your staff will be given the necessary tools, gain the knowledge and have the opportunities to develop their skills sets. They are more likely to reach their full potential happily.

This in turn makes your team more effective and efficient, and impacts positively on the overall organisational performance.

  • Builds trust and mutual respect

Coaching only works, if your employees feel connected to you in some way and trust you.

This is not something that can be created through applying tested techniques and methodologies. You need to take the time to get to know your people, listen to them, find out their needs and motivations, and establish which managerial – and coaching – approach will work best with them.

Your genuine interest and curiosity will help to create an air of understanding, mutual respect and trust. This in turn will positively strengthen your managerial position.

  • Increases employee engagement

Through coaching, you ask pertinent and open-ended questions to help your employees arrive at an answer rather than telling them what to do. Employees who are guided towards articulating their goals and challenges and then find their own solutions in that way feel empowered.

Naturally, development plans have to fit within the parameters of the overall business strategy, but one of the most motivational experience an employee can have is to follow goals that are personally meaningful.

The priorities and strategies that are set in that way fully resonate with them. Consequently, your people will be more committed to putting them into action and they will feel more engaged.

  • Reduces staff turnover

In a work environment, where employees feel valued, supported, and are encouraged to develop, the level of staff turnover is likely to be low. However, you need to not only provide the guidance to help your team find their path and then give them the space to put their plans into action, but you also need to make sure that you have a strong follow-up.

As Monique Valcour, an executive coach, keynote speaker and management professor, says in her article in the Harvard Business Review :

“Follow-up is critical to build trust and to make your coaching more effective. The more you follow through on supporting your employees’ developmental plans, the more productive your coaching becomes, the greater your employees’ trust in you, and the more engaged you all become. It’s a virtuous cycle.”

A coaching manager brings the assumption to the task that the people he is responsible for do not arrive at work ready to do the job. Instead, people will need to learn and grow into their role. It is an essential part of a manager’s responsibilities to facilitate that growth, and help their people adapt to changing circumstances so that they can reach their full potential and remain motivated. That can only make you a better a manager.

Helping others to be more successful is one of the key roles of a manager. This notion lies at the very heart of coaching and has to be the biggest reward for any manager.