Learning to Coach as a Manager: Why it’s Important

By Lyne Desormeaux

Most managers would like their direct reports to know what is expected of them and know how to do their jobs, take on new projects and deliver great results.

When their direct reports are able to do so, these managers feel like they can deliver on their goals as a team and as a department and can contribute to the overall strategy and goals of the organization. When they don’t, well, that is when the manager’s coaching abilities could make or break their team.

Here are three reasons being a manager/coach is important:

Being able to set clear expectations and goals

Many direct reports are unclear about their manager’s expectations and without these they may not deliver a stellar performance. A manager who takes the time to coach their direct reports and review alignment of expectations can make a really big difference. For example, if a manager would like their direct reports to take more initiative as well as be more strategic but their direct report is unaware of this, then the manager may be frustrated. The direct report could also be aware of the desire, but may not know how to be more strategic. A direct conversation could clarify and align both people and this could provide the opportunity for the manager to give examples of what it may look like to be more strategic and to take initiative. For example, when could the direct report have stepped up in the past?

Get curious, learn to listen and give feedback

Your direct reports may have some questions for you. They may also need you to give them feedback (especially courageous feedback). As a manager, you can get curious and ask questions as well as listen to what your direct report is saying. An example would be getting curious about what the direct report thinks of specific projects and if they may have some suggestions as well as any concerns. In listening closely, you may find an area of strength that is untapped and possibly some learning and development opportunities to suggest.

Get the deliverables you desire and your direct reports to embrace learning

In the end, there are business goals to achieve and creating a learning culture is key to accomplishing that. In establishing a manager/coaching relationship with your direct report, you open the door to continuous learning for both you and your direct report. In your coaching meetings the focus can include goals (business or developmental), areas of strengths and development, feedback, exploration, brainstorming.

If you would like to build a culture of learning and coaching, please contact Lyne for a consultation.