How to train Managers as Coaches

More and more coaching is being recognised as a key tool in helping organisations move forward and in improving individual and team performance. Helping Managers to be good coaches is essential.

There is  a place for both internal and external coaches and knowing when and which to use is key to helping your team develop at the right pace for them and for your organisation.

So how can you start to give your managers and team leaders confidence to develop their coaching skills to support others?


Here are 7 key factors to pay attention to:

  1. Explain why coaching may be a benefit – to them and their team. Discuss the kind of results they might see as coaches and include clear benefits to them, their team members and the organisation if you can. Make sure these are things that your Managers can relate to.
  2. Make your conversation informal – When Managers are coaching this can be informal. This means that you can discuss things on a daily basis to ask questions and update each other without it feeling like something ‘official’. It’s about just having a daily conversation without announcing that you are ‘coaching’.
  3. Don’t make coaching sound like something mysterious – It’s just another tool in a Manager’s toolkit – you don’t want people to feel under the microscope or that they have been singled out. Ask Managers to think about what already works in term of engaging, motivating and managing their people. Ask them to think about how coaching could add to this?For example how do they give people who are cautious decision-takers confidence to take on responsibility?
  4. Give Managers an opportunity to try out coaching questions – using real situations will help managers shape questions and give them confidence. Maybe do this through a coaches workshop.
  5. Review and adapt – make sure Managers have a chance to discuss questions and concerns and fix a date for another meet up to review how coaching has gone and make any changes. This can also be used to highlight tangible changes and results. Agree how often and over what length of time you want to review your coaching benefits – people need to see it working and if it’s not working for them but it is for others they have the opportunity to talk it through – and their coaching relationships don’t fall by the wayside.
  6. Highlight successes amongst Managers without breaking confidentiality. If people have said how coaching has helped them at some point along the journey ask if this can be highlighted as feedback for Managers. If you run a staff survey you can ask this confidentially.
  7. Coaching isn’t for everyone! – Be clear about when to coach and when not. Maybe give some examples of when coaching might be appropriate and when another method may be more suitable. You could run a pilot. If people find coaching helpful they will soon spread the word!


REMEMBER – COACHING, COUNSELLING, TRAINING AND MENTORING ARE ALL DIFFERENT SKILLS – Being a good mentor doesn’t necessarily mean you are a good coach – they can be very different approaches

To explore further see…/coaching-mentoring-factsheet