coaching skills is1029723898LGMost managers don't have the best coaching skills. If you want to help develop coaching skills for managers use the tips and information here.

Managers help keep the wheels of a business turning by directing projects, maintaining quality, and solving problems. However, the skills required for accomplished managers don’t necessarily cross over to coaching.

By learning to become more effective coaches, managers improve their employees’ work satisfaction as well as the overall culture of their company.

Read on to learn our best coaching skills for managers!

Coaching Framework

Before a manager begins training to become a better coach, it’s important they know the skills and framework they’re trying to develop, and what it takes to become a successful coach. Coaching types can be broken down into two categories: directive and non-directive.

Directive coaching skills include:

  • Teaching,
  • Advising,
  • Giving feedback, and
  • Offering suggestions for improvement.


Non-directive skills are all about absorbing information and letting team members come to their own conclusions. This means asking open-ended questions rather than directing approaches.

One common framework that coaches use and that managers can become more familiar with is the GROW model while asking questions. GROW is an acronym for:

  • What is your Goal?
  • What is the Reality right now?
  • What are your Options?
  • When will you implement these options?

[quotesright]Becoming a great coach is a balance between learning when to listen and when to step in and advise. [/quotesright]

Taking a Step Back

Some managers micromanage less than others, but the point remains that giving directions and expecting employees to follow through to complete projects doesn’t work when it comes to coaching. Coaching is a far more open-ended process that focuses on positive guidance rather than direction.

Instead of giving clear instructions to follow for a solution, managers need to take a step back and provide support and motivation. [quotesright]As a team works on finding a solution on their own, they’ll be naturally more invested in the process and the results they’re able to achieve. [/quotesright]

The long-term goal of creating a team fully invested in their work is a worthwhile takeaway of releasing the reigns. It’s important to remind managers of this as they adjust from directing to guiding.

[quotes]Letting employees arrive at their own solutions is one of the hardest skills for managers to develop.[/quotes] They need to accept the fact that they don’t have all the answers, and allow their employees to become less dependent on their directives. It takes time, practice, patience, and faith in their employees’ abilities to grow and meet challenges.

Emotional Intelligence

Directing a team is a simple task compared to supporting it. Support requires a certain degree of emotional intelligence in order to help and recognize individuals’ strengths and weaknesses.

A large part of developing emotional intelligence is the ability to sit back and listen. Encourage managers to ask their team members open-ended questions, listening without interrupting.

[quotesright]By getting to know team members on a more personal level, managers will be able to help them become more effective at their roles or transfer them to better-suited ones. [/quotesright]

If a manager has issues with active listening, you can frame it in a way that puts them in the speaker’s shoes. Remind them of what it feels like when they’re trying to convey an important point to someone that’s only halfway present.

Contrast that with the satisfying feeling of knowing someone is completely focused on you through eye contact, nods of the head, and questions that reframe your previous statements.

Coaching is a Win-Win

[quotes]In competitive companies that are focused on driving results and meeting deadlines, coaching may seem like a waste of time for some managers.[/quotes] However, there are many benefits of coaching that affect both employees and the company as a whole.

The largest benefit is an improvement in the company’s culture. Fostering an environment that encourages support, creativity, ownership of a problem and open communication will result in happier employees that are engaged with their work and more effective and productive.

Employees are the backbone of any successful business, and loyal, energized team members will naturally increase productivity.

Regular Feedback

Training managers on how to become more effective coaches won’t happen overnight. Throughout the process, managers need frequent feedback from experts in order to recognize what skills need improvement. They also need to know what they’re doing right.

Coaching trainers can monitor managers to see how they’re applying their coaching skills during a regular workweek, then provide helpful feedback afterward. Managers can also utilize peer coaching by practicing together, or discussing frequent problems they encounter, before being advised by a coaching expert.

Trainers have to be coaches themselves. Telling a manager how to become a better coach and then expecting immediate results won’t work – it’s a process that requires patience from all sides. By being a good trainer yourself, you can serve as an example of what the manager needs to build toward.

Positive Outlook

As managers receive feedback and continue honing their skills, they need to remember that coaching is an innately positive activity. [quotesright]Even in tough situations, a positive outlook needs to be retained because it allows team members to continue to grow. [/quotesright]

Empowering employees means that the manager needs to be positive and confident in team members’ abilities to improve. Even if a manager is listening to an employee and advising them when appropriate, slow progress will be made if they don’t believe their employees are capable of change.

[quotes]Being invested in team members’ success is part of being a great coach.[/quotes] If a manager is making halfhearted attempts, employees will recognize this and provide the same negative energy.

Employees will often come to managers with their own frustrations. Instead of dismissing them, it’s important that they listen and acknowledge them, then move the conversation with open-ended questions that help find solutions.

Lastly, employees need to know when they’re performing well and meeting expectations. Managers need to make recognizing and appreciating employees’ accomplishments as part of their day-to-day routine.

Open-Ended Questions

One of the most important parts of being an effective coach is asking questions. By frequently asking open-ended questions, employees are better able to articulate their goals and work towards strategies that resonate.

Here are some examples of open-ended questions that you can provide for managers:

  • How could we work more efficiently to free up time for other tasks?
  • Are there any skills you think you need to work on to increase your productivity?
  • How much time do you need for certain tasks or activities?
  • Which activities will give the most added value for yourself and the company?

[quotes]There’s a difference between being certain of a solution and being right.[/quotes] While managers are used to giving directives that they feel certain will drive results, coaches need to recognize that their solutions might not be what’s right for an individual. This is why questions, even seemingly obvious ones, are important.

Building Accountability

Coaching is a two-way street. Even if managers develop their listening skills and begin to recognize their employees’ strengths, team members need to follow through with the solutions they discover on their own.

[quotesright]Managers can increase effectiveness by building accountability. This means helping employees find specific, actionable steps from the plans they formulate. [/quotesright]

Without directing, managers can simply ask employees for more details when discussing actionable steps and then come up with reasonable deadlines. Accountability doesn’t have to fall into micromanagement territory.

Clear expectations, deadlines, reports, and frequent conversations let employees know that their manager is just as invested as they are in results, even if their plans may have differed from the manager’s.

Developing Coaching Skills for Managers

As you can see, these coaching skills for managers all take time to master. It’s an ongoing process of learning, practicing, and providing feedback with many rewards.

Developing well-tuned coaching skills leads to employees who perform at their best. Team members are energized, motivated, and invested in the growth of the company.

Moreover, as a company’s culture improves so will the talent applying for jobs. Managers will find that more new applicants will match this new culture of creativity and communication.

With continued support and reminding managers of the benefit of this training, the road to becoming a great coach won’t be a rough one.

In an upcoming article, we’ll cover managing Millennials where coaching, growth and balance assume very different weightings than they do with older employees.

Do you have more questions about running an effective business, improving results, and building a positive company culture? Ask the Coach! Brian Tracy  USA: 877.433.6225 Email Me