In my role as consultant, I am often asked whether all good managers are effective coaches and if so, does this lead to the opposite being true.
To answer these questions with any great authority, it is important to define what is required of a manager when performing the role of coach. In order to do this, it is best to examine all management activity of which there are three key areas: Managing, Leading and Coaching.
These three activities are complimentary and are required to help a good manager achieve their business objectives, by enabling a team to perform at their best. You could refer to these skills as the legs of a stool on which a good manager sits.
When leading; the manager creates and shares a vision of the future with their team and ensures that their activities are consistent with bringing about that change.
When managing; they deliver results to the organisation by controlling the work of the team and agreeing and monitoring such things as budgets, timescales and quality levels.
When coaching; they support team members in their learning, to enable them to develop the skills, knowledge and attitude necessary to successfully deliver their job responsibilities and goals.
It is important to note that these three elements overlap because some of the processes and skills that are used in one area are also used in another. There may be times when the manager needs to use coaching skills to help their team understand and take ownership of quality levels or times when management of budgets requires strong leadership and vision.
Problems arise when the manager is not clear about which approach is appropriate in a particular situation. For example, if a coaching approach is used when deadlines are tight or a crisis has arisen, precious time may be lost. If a management approach is used when a team member has made a mistake, the learning opportunity will be missed and the mistake may be repeated.
All this boils down to the simple fact that coaching is incredibly important to a manager’s role and to be truly effective, they should acquire this valuable skill. However, if they neglect the requirements of management and leadership, they will ultimately fail.
So, to answer the original questions; Are all good managers effective coaches? I suspect so. Does that make all effective coaches good managers? Not unless you can sit on a one legged stool!
This Article is adapted from our training course ‘Coaching at Work’, which is available from our website at Trainer Bubble.We also provide business consultancy in areas such as leadership, coaching and effective business development. You can discover more about the wealth of services offered by Trainer Bubble at our website Trainer Bubble Services