Does every Manager need to be a Coach?

The word coaching in itself is a loaded word, and currently it seems to be taking the work world by storm. I am concerned about the impact of this because not everyone can be a coach and with so many people getting certified within organisations as coaches, I wonder if we are again being led off track by another fad.

Don't get me wrong, I think coaching within context in the work world is great but it is important to frame it when we work with managers on their coaching skills. Sometimes an inexperienced “coach” will delve into areas that touch on someone else’s values and beliefs. This is encroaching into someone’s personal space and unless you are a highly-trained coach in this field (like a psychologist), it is best to stay focused on specific work and performance related areas. Inexperienced novice coaches can cause considerable damage.

So whilst we have so many “coaches” within organisations and many of them being sponsored by their companies, it’s time for these organisations to fully understand and set the parameters for coaching within their organisation.

Stick to performance coaching

This is the area that most managers struggle with and an area that managers can do better at. Teaching managers how to coach performance is appropriate and relevant. This is also an area where they can get a lot of practice, as it is something they have to do everyday.

Difference between competencies and behaviours

Often managers think that once they have listed out the competencies they need, their job is done. Unless we can mark out specific behaviours that demonstrate those competencies, these competencies will just remain a checklist and will not come to live.


Marking out good performance

Managers must be taught how to notice and reinforce good performance. Good performance is behaviour that has reached a stipulated standard. When someone reaches this standard of behaviour, managers must mark out this desired behaviour to further increase it. This is an important part of coaching that must be taught to managers.

Asking good questions

Good coaches ask good questions. How can we teach our managers to ask questions relevant to performance coaching? How can they learn to take an employee from learning curve to habit strength? What good questions can they ask so that they build a learning culture?

Don't forget about peer coaching

One of the benefits of coaching performance is to help others learn and when managers learn how to run effective meetings that focus on good performance and how it was achieved, they build an environment for peer coaching.


Coaching is a powerful tool but without a skilled practitioner to use it wisely, it is like giving a knife to a child. What most managers need to know how to do better is performance coaching. Proper behavioural coaching produces long lasting results.