Why it Pays for Managers to Learn to be Coaches

Discover the differences between coaching vs managing, the benefits, and 3 tips you can implement today to start creating coaching leaders.

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As companies fight to retain and recruit employees in these times of the Great Resignation, it is worth delving into whether your organisation is pulling all its levers in terms of keeping your employees happy and engaged.

Numerous studies, including this one by McKinsey, have shown that the single most important factor that influences employees’ job satisfaction is their relationship with management. McKinsey’s study found that only mental health is more important to overall life satisfaction.

What Then Can Improve Your Employees’ Relationship With Management?

In a wide-ranging study of 1.2 million employees in 22 organisations across 45 countries, Gallup found that employees want their managers to be coaches, not bosses. The best workers reject command-and-control management and look for development and purpose in their work.

Read on to discover the differences between coaching vs managing, the benefits that coaches bring to their companies, and 3 tips you can implement today to start creating coaching leaders.

Managers vs Coaches: How Are They Different?


Managers differ from coaches in a few distinct ways. One of the biggest differences is that while managers prioritise tasks and productivity, coaches are relationship-oriented.

Coaches essentially view themselves as a support function to the employees and see their main role as developing employees. This helps coaching managers understand each employee’s unique strengths and enhances the managers’ ability to leverage their employees’ talents.

Below are the key points on how managers differ from coaches.

A manager…

✔ Supervises the work
✔ Tells employees what to do
✔ Corrects or punishes when performance is below expectations
✔ Is self-oriented about success Is task-oriented

In contrast, a coach…


✔ Engages employees
✔ Leverage employees’ strengths to optimise outcomes
✔ Sets clear expectations and gives regular feedback to improve performance Is team-oriented about success
✔ Is enthusiastic about developing people

What Benefits Do Coaching Leaders Bring to Organisations?

Coaching done right can be transformational, at both an individual and an organisational level.

Research from Gallup shows that companies can benefit quantitatively from managers taking a coaching approach. Gallup found that implementing strengths-based employee development could provide a 10-19% increase in sales and a 14-29% bump in profit. In addition, 67% of employees whose managers focus on their strengths feel engaged in their work.

Furthermore, a transformational coaching manager can deliver these qualitative benefits to their organisation:

✔ Engages employees
✔ Cultivates sustainable behaviour change
✔ Inspires success-driven teams
✔ Creates opportunities for collaborative teamwork
✔ Develops critical and strategic thinking skills
✔ Delivers results

3 Top Tips to Create Coaching Leaders

So how can you and your company reap the benefits of having coaching managers? Here are 3 practical suggestions to help your managers become coaches.

Tip 1. Put in Place the Requisite Organisational Support

For coaching and development to flourish, a company needs to commit to the goal of helping managers learn to coach. This would mean allocating resources and time and communicating the expectation that developing employees is one of the most important priorities for the organisation.

Tip 2. Provide Managers With Coaching-Specific Training


Managers are traditionally promoted or recruited into their managerial role based on their success in a previous non-managerial role, or because it is felt that they deserve it having spent several years in the company or industry.

However, there is no guarantee that someone experienced and successful in a previous non-managerial role will have the talent to manage others. This study contends that companies fail to choose the right person for a managerial role 82% of the time.

Nevertheless, with the right management training, managers can gain the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in their roles. Coaching-specific training can also give managers the confidence to develop and coach their employees successfully.

Tip 3. Adopt a Coaching Mindset


Some of the most common coaching challenges managers encounter include stopping themselves from giving directions and finding the time to coach.

Bosses might think that it is simpler and more time-efficient to direct their employees. Nevertheless, managers who can spot teaching opportunities and take the time to coach their team will be able to reap the benefits in the long run - in the form of time saved from having more independent employees, as well as more engaged and happier employees.

Final Thoughts


In conclusion, there are many benefits to the employees and the company when managers learn to become coaches. It is therefore worth investing the time and money to ensure that managers can become great at developing their people with the right coaching skills and mindset.

Author Bio

Carol Pang is a Content Manager for findcourses.co.uk. Prior to this, she has 12 years of experience in the corporate and financial sectors. She believes that people are fundamental to an organisation’s success and that effective training can create a motivated and engaged workforce.

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