The Manager As A Coach by Cindy Stradling CSL, CPC

The role of the manager has shifted over time. In the past, managers were typically responsible for overseeing roles in the organization. This may have included setting goals, providing performance evaluation, hiring and firing, and addressing any shortfalls in employee performance while also taking care of the reporting and running of the department.

Today, this model of management is shifting. Many of the top companies in the country and around the world are shifting to a different way of providing support for employees and team members. Instead of managers “managing,” they move into a coaching role. The coaching role allows the manager to support the individual growth of each employee or team member in a personalized and tailored fashion. This encourages personalized professional development, increased creativity, and a collaborative relationship between the manager and the employee.

Supporting Individual Growth

To support individual professional growth, managers must be able to both ask the right questions and listen to the answers. Individual growth may look very different for each team member, ensuring maximum growth for each person.

In the role of manager as a coach, there is a stronger, more collaborative experience for everyone involved. Through these private, confidential discussions, managers learn more about their employees as they are seen more as colleagues than the boss. At the same time, the employees often feel more comfortable and confident in being creative, thinking outside the box, and sharing ideas that may be groundbreaking for the team or organization.

Guiding and Assisting

The coach manager is able to guide people in meaningful ways that are personal as well as professional. Often issues that are causing challenges in someone’s personal life, such as challenges with communication, conflict resolution, or interpersonal relationships, will also show up at work.

As the coach, you do not need to have the answers or solve the problem. Instead, you ask questions to allow the individual to identify these issues and to brainstorm the resources or the support they need. This is valuable for the individual as they learn that they have control over their growth and progress.

Reality Testing

Moving from manager as leader and problem-solver to manager as coach does not mean accepting basic answers. It means going deeper, asking questions, and then reality testing the solutions developed by the employee or individual.

The process is also a learning experience for the employee or individual. They do not feel judged, but they have a clear understanding of the effectiveness or potential challenges with their selected path forward. As the coach, you can then check in with the employee over time, helping them to make the necessary adjustments to have real, significant growth and success.