Are You Managing with Coaching Skills?

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In the 21st century managers are just not managers. As a manager, you may be innovative, analytical and an excellent problem solver, still it is recommended that you should develop and acquire coaching skills that will help you manage and empower your team effectively.

Developing coaching skills allows you to be more impactful as a leader and help you get the most out of your team. Another benefit of coaching others is that it allows you to polish your management skills. And it has been proven that when given the opportunity to learn and grow people thrive. Adopting a coaching mentality will help with employee onboarding and retention, skill improvement, performance improvement, and knowledge transfer.

A study conducted by Bersin & Associates revealed that organizations that coach their teams consistently experience a 21% improvement in their business as opposed to those who never coach. Among all the different leadership and competencies skills, coaching plays a central role in improving the general performance of the entire team. This post will examine how to develop good coaching skills.

Many managers do not coach

Despite the fact that many managers realize the importance of coaching in employee engagement, many are still far from the culture of coaching. The three most common reasons why managers do not coach are addressed below

  • Time constraint
  • Lack of coaching skills
  • Lack of structure

Time constraint. There’s no question about the fact that managers have so much to do. They have incoming texts, emails, video conferences, meetings, compliance and regulatory concerns, management and stakeholder reports, and a lot more. This may make it almost impossible to have time for coaching their team.

Lack of coaching skills. Many managers simply shy away from coaching because they do not know what to do. Some find it difficult and uncomfortable to deliver criticism in a constructive way. However, just like any other skill, coaching can be learned. Once the senior management provides the required tools and holds managers accountable for coaching, they will learn these skills and develop into effective coaches.

Lack of structure.  For some managers that have both the needed time and willingness to coach, there’s usually the problem of having a proper structure in place. Many managers do not really understand what coaching involves. Most wrongly assume that weekly or monthly meetings for updates on ongoing projects and activities are synonymous with coaching, but it is not. This is just basic management of daily business activities. It is important for managers to understand how the engagement process itself works. Having a defined process upfront will be most effective. Once a structure is in place, it will be easier to find the time and rhythm to collaborate with team members.



Making the transition from being a ‘manager’ to a ‘coach’ is not usually easy for most managers. In fact, some managerial strengths may seem to contradict some perceived coaching traits. Therefore, it may be quite challenging to develop skills and change your managerial approach. Developing a coaching mindset involves being insightful, understanding what makes people tick so that you can help them perform at their best. This is a key competence of an effective manager using a coaching approach. As a coach, you also have to be willing to traverse administrative resistance to coaching as it’s not always applauded especially when there’s a lot to do in so little time. Here are specific tips so that the transition can be seamless.


Be less Directive    

You have probably earned your managerial role because of your ability to complete projects and manage people. However, coaching is more of an open-ended process. Instead of steadily proffering solutions, help your team members to explore options and come up with possible solutions. Utilizing questions effectively will help you to challenge your team members to explore new ways of thinking. With constant support and motivation, they will be able to come up with ideas that will ultimately lead to excellent results. When team members go through their thought process to get a proven solution, they are much more involved, because it is their idea. Realize that coaching is not about “fixing” someone, it is more about the development of your team members over the long-haul. Setting up a structure for actions and outcomes allows your team members to focus on the desired objectives and goals. Build a team of problem solvers.


Develop Emotional Intelligence

Helping your team members explore their strengths and weaknesses to improve performance in their respective roles requires a high degree of emotional intelligence. As you work hard to develop a coaching relationship with your team members, you will likely have to discuss lifestyles and personal issues. It is critical that you handle such topics with sensitivity. Often times, emotional intelligence goes deeper than the surface level that might be obvious, and instead, it goes to the depths of where engagement lives.


Communicating effectively

Communicating effectively is more like a dialogue (asking), not a monologue (telling). You need to guide the conversation through tactful questions. Open-ended questions are the best types to draw out your employees. Examples of such questions include

  1. What problem are we trying to solve?
  2. What support/help do you need from me specifically?
  3. Is this the only option?
  4. What does finish look like?
  5. Walk me through your thought process?
  6. What other approaches might you take next time?

Great questions often lead to great answers, which further fosters great conversations. Guide the conversion not by directives but by asking intelligent questions. Employees learn best when they discover the answers themselves by providing a deeper level of thought. Emotional intelligence will also help you to see practical ways you can help your team members to improve performance and develop a positive outlook. Maintaining a positive outlook irrespective of the situation will help both you and your team members to respond and react in a way that fosters positive change.


Listen and empower

You need to consistently empower and encourage your team members. Work with them to build one-on-one relationships that will lead to improved performance. Your team members will likely have lots of inputs, feedbacks, and questions. Show by your actions that you really want to listen to them and encourage them to share their opinions. Ask questions about their career path, or their role evolving in the company. Be curious about their story. This will help them to start thinking about their careers and what they hope to achieve within the organization.  It is equally important that you make a commitment to improving your personal skills and competencies. Your team members will likely follow your example and have much needed clarity.


The Bottom Line

Are you ready to take up the challenge? Your team members, business, and career will benefit immensely once you make the transition from a manager mindset to a Coach mindset. Your employees will develop new skills that will improve their performance levels which will, in turn, benefit the organization. Confidence is built when you catch your employees doing something right throughout the coaching process. Research shows that employees might quit because of an ineffective manager, but they will stay, contribute, and engage because of a great coach – which one would you rather be? Share with me your thoughts in the comments below.


Other blogs by the author (click here).

About the author: Kyle Kalloois the Chief Executive Officer, Business Coach with Change My Life Coaching and Change My Business CoachingAs a result, he learned to take the innovative approach towards life, business and leadership. Through his management training and experience with McDonalds, Famous Players (Paramount) and WestJet, and all of the ongoing learning and development he’s completed, Kyle has refined and perfected skills and processes and is eager to share how to execute them efficiently to help individuals and companies achieve even more of their dreams. 83% of Kyle’s business comes from referrals. http://www.changemylifecoaching.ca 


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