Skip to content
    March 27, 2023

    Turning Managers into Coaches

    Managers, particularly new managers, often don’t have the skills needed to coach a team to success. They know how to run a P&L. They are clear about the performance measures they are asked to meet. They know that they will need to motivate their team to be successful. But how many of them actually got any training around people management?

    So much of successfully leading a team is helping new and seasoned leaders truly understand themselves. A manager at any level knows they must make decisions, be a leader, and get projects to the finish line. Too often, they aren’t clear about their own way of leading and end up not getting the results they want. They struggle with communicating with those that don’t work the same way they do. We often see managers and leaders try to “help” a team member by pointing out what they aren’t doing well, without ever focusing on what they are doing right.  

    To be a successful manager/coach, it’s time to look inside and get honest feedback. If the team is not working the way you need them to, the first question is, "Am I leading them and coaching them so they can succeed?" A manager can take an assessment, like Gallup’s Strength Finders, to start to understand their own strengths and communication style. If team members take a similar evaluation, the manager can start to see where disconnects may be happening. As an example, a manager may be someone that doesn’t need a lot of information to get started on a project. As a result, the manager expects the same from team members. However, if someone on that team isn’t doing well because they need more information, that can be a huge miss. By adjusting their management style to the team members' needs, they may get much more buy-in and productivity from someone they thought wasn’t performing well.

    These types of business leadership skills are sometimes referred to as “soft” skills. However, a better way of thinking about them is connecting skills. Indeed recently conducted a survey of 1,000 hiring managers. They asked them to list what attributes are common to the top performers at their company. Here’s what they found to be the most important:

    • Problem solving 
    • Effective communication skills
    • Self-direction
    • Drive
    • Adaptability and Flexibility

    If a manager isn’t a clear communicator, how can they lead good problem-solving? Self-direction is important, but if the person is also not adaptable, they can lead others in the wrong direction. It isn’t any one of these skills, but how they are combined. Realistically, most people entering a management role will have a few of these attributes. They need good coaching to not only round out their management skill set, but also know how these skills integrate to make them into a manager that is also an effective coach to the team they are leading.

    “Just as great athletes seek out great coaches, the best people want to work for leaders who coach them to reach their full potential and who will help them become better coaches themselves.”  Harvard Business Review. Oct, 2022


    Related Blog Posts

    View All Blog Posts