Managers within many of the most successful organizations have transitioned to daily on-the-spot, ongoing performance conversations enabling employees to learn and adapt quickly. This coaching style benefits these organizations – as well as its managers and employees.

The Benefit to the Organization – After years of extensive research Gallup’s has found that the quality of an organization’s managers is the most significant factor impacting an organization’s success. Gallup suggests that the number one priority for senior leaders should be training their managers to become effective coaches.

But to implement and then make this transition ‘stick’ senior leaders need to:

  • Cause managers to recognize that they are accountable for engaging and developing their teams – with coaching being their key tool for doing so
  • Provide managers with the resources and training they need to satisfy that accountability

The Benefit to Managers – Since a manager’s performance is evaluated chiefly on the performance of his/her team, every instance in which a manager assists an employee in improving his/her performance that manager is helping the employee, the organization and himself or herself as a manager. So, arguably, the most important thing a manager can do for his/her career is to make it a priority to continually share their knowledge and expertise with their direct reports. Becoming an effective coach may be the most important competency a manager can possess.

While everyone knows it’s important, giving feedback can be uncomfortable and therefore is often avoided. Frequently in leadership workshops, I suggest to managers hesitant about coaching that they tell their team that they are modifying their managerial style and beginning immediately:

  • when they see their direct reports doing a good job, they are going to comment
  • and when they see a team member not performing adequately, they are going to speak to them

When these managers wake up the next morning, they may question what they have done. But they are likely to live up to their public commitment. And soon coaching will become a natural part of their managerial and leadership style.

Some managers – saying they lack the time – push back on having ongoing coaching conversations. However, research has shown that coaching conversations save managers time because employees avoid low priority tasks and are motivated by their managers’ interest in them. 

The Benefit to Employees – Development is what today’s workforce wants. Development attracts and keeps employees. In fact, the primary reason employees change jobs today is for growth opportunities. And with 70% of employee development occurring on the job, managers are the primary resource. Your ‘A’ performers will give their best, but they need to know that their manager recognizes their efforts.

A coaching style of management emphasizes the development of employees – as well as achieving goals. Because giving and receiving feedback drives continuous improvement it’s a very worthwhile endeavor for every manager and organization.

“The consensus after each of our U.S. elections is that 100% of us think that 50% of us have lost their minds.”

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