Coaching-Based Management Style

June 29, 2010 by  Filed under: Management 

I often hear my coaching clients talk about how much they enjoy mentoring younger members of their team. They take pride in sharing the wisdom of their life experiences to others who haven’t had the same benefit. This comes through when they are giving guidance on potential pitfalls on projects or building processes. In this communication dynamic you see a lot of one-sided talking and the other, head nodding. Though well intended, this type of exchange maintains the manager to stay in charge, possess all the answers, and a tendency to fix all the problems.

My question is usually: what assumptions are being made here? Does the seasoned manager know the full capacity and thinking process of the younger employee? What sort of dependency model is the employee forming with the manager? What would happen if the dominant speaker in the dialogue was the employee instead of the manager? In that case, the dynamic would be dramatically different.

When it comes down to it, none of us really enjoys being told exactly what to. There are many types of management/leadership styles that can bring about results; only one provides the employee to take full ownership of their work product.

The collaborative and engaging style of a “Coach” enables leaders to be a “manager-coach”. This approach focuses on developing employees in order to achieve business results rather than managing their every move. The mindset of the manager-coach is to create an environment that fosters learning, independent thinking and opportunities to contribute. The manager-coach doesn’t want to be seen as a solution provider. Rather, they want to be seen as a facilitator, paving the way for the employee to achieve their results. Manager-Coaches are a role model for others. They are excellent listeners and communicators, providing perspective and encouragement while also setting high standards and expectations.

As hard as it might be, the management relationship would benefit if the manager held his/her tongue to let the employee articulate how to address their view of handling their project on their own. If the manager-coach hears gaps in the thinking process that could be detrimental to the outcome, they can instill the standards and set boundaries by asking the employee questions that allow them to reveal their own developmental areas. In this way the employees could recognize for themselves the way to improve their process, safeguard good outcomes and manage risks.

The important shift in the balance of power allows the manager to stop making all the decisions. By involving members of the manager’s team, it breeds employee ownership and engagement. The more managers can find opportunities for employees to contribute to the decision-making process by encouraging them to have their say, the more they will feel connected and satisfied with the work they are doing. Most importantly it will be the best learning experience a manager can give them.

Debra Desmond is a certified executive coach, frequent public speaker and professional facilitator. She is the founder of Real Perspective Coaching, a leadership and organizational effectiveness coaching firm. Executives who have worked with Debra solved problems by strengthening their emotional intelligence competencies, built and repaired relationships, established priorities, dealt with burnout, made career transitions, and achieved their most sought after goals.

Debra has extensive corporate experience in Human Resource management roles. Her long standing career in executive search within healthcare and the petroluem industries fine-tuned her client orientation, relationship building expertise and accumen for pinpointing the exact talent who could deliver to expectation.

Debra is certified executive coach from the Behavioral Coaching Institute, she holds a Masters degree in HR from Loyola University Chicago, certified administrator in DISC assessments and MBTI instruments, To learn more about Debra, her practice and the ways she has added value to her corporate and individual clients, visit her website: Ask about her 30 minute free coaching offering.

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Debra Desmond - EzineArticles Expert Author

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