How to Teach Your Managers to be Better Coaches

Managers should not just generate reports and manage in order to meet various baseline metrics. If a manager micromanages people, they’ll soon destroy morale and undermine productivity. On the flipside, managers who empower people and lift them up improve both morale and productivity. Forget team building activities, and turn your managers into coaches! Then they’ll be able to teach people how to do their job right and motivate people in every aspect of their work. Here’s great tips on how you can teach your managers to switch their mindset and become coaches for your employees.

Make the Case for Coaching

The best way to get your managers to buy in when you tell them they need to become coaches is to provide the business case for this transformation. One way you could do this is to present them with data to back it up.

For instance, you could show them case studies on how companies with strong coaching cultures had above-average revenue growth versus those that didn’t. You can present coaching as the best-in-class management style that your business needs to adopt in order to remain competitive.

Many organizations are planning on expanding their leadership scope by teaching their leaders coaching skills. Explain how coaching skills are now considered essential competencies for managers, so those who want to move up in the organization must learn how to be coaches.

Build the Personal Case for Coaching

After you’ve presented the idea to everyone, you will run into resistance from some individuals. These are the people who need to see the personal case for coaching. No amount of coercion will make a reluctant manager adopt coaching as a management style.

You’ll get poor performance from managers who see it as a burden because they don’t see its value. You can present the case that learning how to coach people will eventually reduce their workload because it will raise the performance level of their subordinates. If they’re still reluctant, you can hire an executive coach to help them become better coaches themselves and to understand why this managerial style is superior. Talk about how the company sees this as the best way to manage the organization going forward, and those who don’t keep up may not remain with the organization while those who complete coaching training will see their career prospects improve.

Discuss how coaching employees and taking them to the next level will increase the odds the manager will be promoted. Your organization may also open up new avenues for advancement, such as promoting the first person to complete the training to head the mentoring program or considering those who complete advanced coaching training suitable for promotion to the next level.

Establish Firm Expectations

Before you send people to coaching training, provide firm expectations of what they’ll get out of the training and what will happen after they’ve completed the assigned courses. For example, make it clear that coaching will become the responsibility of every manager in the organization.

Discuss expectations like how often managers are going to meet with each employee one-on-one and the types of coaching they’ll perform. Upper management must realize that coaching requires both time and skill, so they must be willing to pay for good coaching training and give managers time to coach their team members. Recognize that managers will need to develop their skills, but know that some will need to go back through training to get it right or will need to take additional courses to cultivate the necessary soft skills to be great leaders.

Provide Targeted Coaching Training

As mentioned, successful coaching takes both time and skill. You can’t send people to multi-day seminars and expect them to walk away fully-trained. Coaching training is most successful when it is tailored to the coach-in-training.

For example, a good manager may need training in how to coach others so that they can become a better manager, while a great coach may need specific training in how to develop a mentoring program or be a mentor themselves. Online training to refine coaching and mentoring skills for executives allows them to learn just what they need to know while taking as little time as possible away from their work. Sales managers attending strategic selling training could dramatically increase the effectiveness of their sales force.  Services like will allow you to identify the ideal coaching training needs for each person and find the best coaching training course for your organization and team members.

Give Managers Their Own Coaches

One of the most effective teaching methods is direct experience. Consider giving managers who are learning how to coach with their own coaches. This gives them an idea of what it is like to be on the receiving end of coaching. It also gives them someone to talk to about the finer details of coaching their team members. Another benefit of this is that it makes the managers more dedicated coaches.

Continue the Training Program

Once you’ve provided an initial round of training in how to be a mentor, a coach, or a manager who coaches their direct reports, the next step is sustaining the gain.

A manager who completed coaching training may need to attend a class on coaching and mentoring with motivational intelligence because it turns out they are great at mentoring but not at motivating. Someone who has learned how to mentor their subordinates may need specialized training in how to train up potential leaders. A leader who is good at motivating salespeople or generally supporting team members may need additional training in how to lead the transformation of a department or the organization as a whole.

Or, you may want to invest in trainer courses so that you can bring a fair part of the coaching development program in-house. Another approach is assigning managers turned coaches to additional online training modules so that they earn industry-recognized certifications. They’ll appreciate the ability to list these certifications on their resume, and it becomes a selling point for the organization itself.

Organizations also need to integrate coaching training into their management and leadership training programs. Managers in training should learn how to mentor, motivate and coach just as they learn internal human resources processes and the bigger picture regarding how the business operates. To that end, the purpose of mentoring will be as individual as every employee, so it's important to be clear at the start about mutual outcomes and objectives.

Firms must also ensure that newly hired managers go through the same coaching training that other managers have already completed. This has a number of benefits. It helps the new manager become acclimated to company culture. It ensures that new managers don’t fall into the traditional overbearing, micromanagement mode. It teaches them the collaborative management style you want them to follow, and it reinforces that behavior if they were already familiar with it.

The consistency in management styles ingrains it in the corporate culture. Such coaching training is essential to maintain a family-like atmosphere as an organization rapidly grows or experiences rapid turnover in management.

Reward the Best Coaches

There will be a strong correlation between the best coaches and the best performing departments. These leaders should be rewarded for their efforts and their performance. The organization should also consider these people to be candidates for managerial and executive positions in the organization. When you place them in important roles, credit their excellent coaching skills among other things. This will clearly communicate to everyone else that coaching is an essential skill for managers.

While coaching is a critical skill for managers, it must be taught, demonstrated and reinforced in order for the organization to become a coaching organization. One way to improve this company wide is to utilize the services of an outside business coach to help your key leaders grow. The benefits for the individuals receiving training and coaching will yield great rewards for the organization as a whole.

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