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7 Reasons You Should Be a Coach, Not a Boss

Business News Daily Editor
Business News Daily Editor

As a manager, it's your responsibility to encourage growth, confidence and ambition in your employees. Coaching is the way to do it.

  • Employee coaching has been linked to affect employee skills motivation and performance at work.
  • Coaching has been identified as an effective employee feedback tool in an organization. Employees are more willing to offer feedback to their coaches.
  • The coaching environment influences employee's performance.

As a manager, it's your responsibility to encourage growth, confidence and ambition in your employees, the way a coach would for their team. However, only 25% of organizations have a strong coaching culture, according to research by the International Coach Federation.

The survey found that 79% of respondents believe their workers value coaching, but many companies are not practicing this type of management. This is a prevalent issue and a common reason for low employee engagement, performance and retention.

"Instead of having a directive style, a manager or leader who uses coaching skills fosters an environment of collaboration and open, direct communication," said Magdalena Mook, CEO and executive director of the International Coach Federation. "At the same time, the relationship between the employee and the boss remains managerial in its nature."

There are several methods you can adopt to effectively coach employees. Don't treat your employees like they're less important than you. Instead, train them to acknowledge their value and potential.

Transitioning to a coaching managerial style requires a well-planned and well-thought-out process for maximum achievement. Begin by creating mutual trust between you and the employee. Employees benefit from your knowledge and experience when they have a relationship with you.

As you meet with employees, especially if the meeting is to address an employee's poor performance, start the meeting in a friendly, nonjudgmental way. Explore the various options together and ask for a commitment from the employee to change after the coaching session.

Benefits of coaching employees

Employee coaching aims to increase an employee's level of satisfaction and engagement at work. It is collaborative in nature and requires focused discussions on individual goals while identifying opportunities for improvement. The employee should then be able to come up with clear and coherent steps to achieve his or her goals. Here are the benefits of employee coaching.

1. More engagement

According to the ICF survey, organizations with strong coaching cultures have 8% more highly engaged employees than those with weaker coaching cultures.

If your employees feel like they're repeating the same arduous tasks rather than being trusted with new projects, they won't be engaged. It's important that you coach them through new experiences so they have the chance to learn and grow.

Mook stated that companies where management is supportive, collaborative, and open – traits of a good coach as cited by respondents – fuel an environment where employees are engaged, satisfied, positive, and productive.

"Coaching is one of the instruments that we see can really boost performance and also help realize the potential for people," said Alejandro Campos, head of talent management and organizational development at Continental Tire Worldwide.

Campos added that his company is moving from a top-down management style to a more collaborative approach to become a more progressive and attractive employer.

"The minute you expose people to any type of coaching … people immediately understand the value," said Alison Hooker, retired chief talent development officer at EY Americas.

2. Higher employee confidence

If an employee isn't confident, they likely won't take risks or go beyond what is expected of them. This not only stunts their professional growth, it also prevents your organization from reaping the benefits of their full potential.

Coaching helps identify each worker's strengths and weaknesses, building on and confronting them in a way that makes sense to the individual and the team.

"Self-confidence comes from feeling ownership over your life, your choices and your future," said Mook. "Because it puts your employees in the driver's seat when it comes to setting and achieving their goals, coaching promotes this sense of empowerment and leads to marked increases in self-esteem and self-confidence."

When your workers feel good about themselves, they'll channel that emotion at work and use their self-awareness to identify the best path for them. 

3. Better-prepared workers

Especially when managing new employees, it's crucial that you are coaching and developing, engaging and inspiring, and applying emotional intelligence, according to the research. This prepares workers for future roles and promotions, inspiring them to advance not only in your company but in their careers.

"Both partnering with a professional coach practitioner and receiving coaching-skills training themselves can help employees nurture these competencies," said Mook. "Furthermore, because coaching is an individualized process, it can help future managers explore their own areas for growth, address blind spots and pursue professional goals on route to the next level of their career."

4. Greater ownership and responsibility

Taking ownership and responsibility means that an employee is fully aware of their contribution in the achieved results. This could be negative or positive depending on the circumstances. When an employee takes responsibility over their performance, they can identify steps that they should take in the right direction. Identifying the mistakes they made in the past can improve their performance in the future.

5. Development of self-awareness

Coaching helps an employee to become self-aware. Self-awareness results in enriched emotional intelligence, improved critical thinking, and strengthened communication skills and intelligence. Individuals who are also self-aware, have been known to have better leadership skills.

6. Greater clarity in goals and objectives

It is essential to analyze the goals and objectives of assigned roles during the coaching session. Probe what seems to be vague and ensure that an employee has clarity on their goals and objectives.

7. Openness to personal learning and development

It is essential for employees to understand the importance of personal learning and development. This will allow them to pursue personal growth with the right attitude.


Organizations that coach their employees, as opposed to a hierarchical, top-down management style, have, in the long run, achieved better employee performance. There are fewer conflicts as individuals understand their roles and objectives, and align themselves with the organization's mission and vision.


Image Credit: Syda Productions/Shutterstock
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