3 Situations When Managers Should Not Coach

a businesswoman faces 3 doors that indicate when Managers Should Not Coach

Sometimes Managers Should Not Coach
Not every situation provides an effective coaching opportunity.  Sometimes managers should not coach.

  • Are you a manager who struggles to add coaching to your long list of responsibilities?
  • Are you skeptical that coaching will improve or change performance?
  • Do you have the coaching skills to do it right?

Many Managers Struggle with Coaching
You are not alone…many managers, including experienced managers, struggle as coaches for all the above reasons.  And, even more alarming, our employee engagement data tells us that less than 25% of direct reports believe coaching from their manager is making a positive impact on their performance. They think the other 75% of managers should not coach.

Coaching Matters
As much as we sympathize with the struggle to coach (and be coached) effectively, we absolutely maintain that it makes a positive difference both in performance and employee engagement.

  • Our recent research, for example, showed a 4-to-1 difference between the performance of sales reps who received coaching from their manager and those who did not.
  • The Human Capital Institute found almost two-thirds of respondents from organizations with strong coaching cultures rate their employees as being highly engaged, compared to only half from organizations without strong coaching cultures.

We believe that without coaching, reinforcement of any new skill, behavior or methodology becomes very difficult.  Coaching can bring learning to life.  Through coaching, change and growth takes place.

Three Situations When Managers Should Not Coach
Managers should not coach when the coaching:

1. Does Not Focus On Relevant, Specific or Aligned Objectives
Managers should not coach when the goals of coaching are unclear, not important to the business or do not filly align with the:

  • Company objectives
  • Team objectives
  • Personal and professional goals of the individual being coached

For example, if your company has defined improved customer centricity as a goal to better retain clients, coaching should be designed to promote better customer care.  Effective coaching should always support real-world business objectives.

2. Takes Too Much Time
Managers should not coach when the time required is unmanageable. While time is not a concern for managers who know coaching is essential to improving both engagement and performance, the best performance coaching happens in real-time and in short, meaningful feedback sessions.  Formal coaching sessions can be burdensome for both coach and coachee.

Try to keep your coaching conversations timely and targeted on them, not you.  Get to the point, be succinct, ask if there are any questions, and then agree to check in later.  If it regularly takes more than 10 minutes, you probably need to improve your coaching skills.

3. Requires an Expert
The truth is that few managers are expert coaches. Managers should not coach when they do not have the expertise to help.  The good news is that managers don’t have to be experts to coach effectively for most situations.

Most often “adequate” coaches who coach through moments of truth, who are supportive and who follow through are good enough to keep engagement and performance on the rise.  As long as they present an attitude of caring and the desire to help their team members learn and grow, well-intentioned coaches can be effective.

The Bottom Line
Managers, especially new or inexperienced managers, need to take on coaching as an important part of their role.  Managers do not need to be perfect coaches, or spend an inordinate amount of time coaching, or worry about areas that do not directly drive performance.  With those three caveats in mind, managers can make coaching a key management tool in their pocket to help their team to perform at its peak.

To learn more about becoming an effective coach, download The Top Coaching Mistakes to Avoid

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