Coaching Tips for Busy Managers

Most managers are expected to coach their team to achieve desired goals for the company. It is their job to motivate, guide, engage and get their team to perform at the top of their game.

Just like a sports coach, in order to succeed, a manager needs to see the strengths, limitations and potential of each team member to be able to develop the person. Then, the manager needs to guide his team to work together towards achieving their goals… encouraging, correcting, pushing and inspiring the team to succeed.

There are many styles, models and approaches to coaching. But here are a few practical tips to help you get started:

Regular Coaching Sessions
The biggest barrier to coaching is time. Busy managers have a lot of other responsibilities and tasks. Work usually gets in the way and coaching is put on hold. A great manager, however, understands the long term effects of coaching. He knows that by investing his time to coaching, his team will become better at their jobs and become more self-reliant. Hence, it is important to schedule regular coaching sessions. You can opt to do one-on-one coaching to focus on the individual or do group coaching or huddle sessions, when needed. The important point to remember is to schedule coaching time.

Clear Goals & Objectives
To become an effective coach, the manager needs to set clear goals and objectives, as well as frequently remind his team about these. Normally, at the start of every coaching session, the goals and objectives are discussed. This allows you to have focus in your coaching session to prevent it from becoming a long-drawn therapy session. It gives your team a clear target. In succeeding sessions, update the individual or team on accomplishments. Think of it as a scoreboard that players can check to see where he is at and how far off the goal is.

Many managers find it a drag to fill in performance appraisals even if it’s a vital HR tool. When you are coaching, however, you do not have to do the evaluation yourself. Instead, you can have each of your team members evaluate themselves based on a set of standards or questionnaire. When you get an individual to evaluate his own performance, it will allow him to proactively look into his own strengths and areas of improvement. It encourages responsibility and accountability as it leads to self-awareness and self-improvement. Self-evaluations are empowering for your people. It also allows the manager to see the person in a different light without having to judge.

Active Listening
Coaching is not bossing nor is it training. When you are coaching someone, you have to remember that this isn’t about you. This means that the coach must not monopolize the conversation. Instead, he or she needs to listen, listen, and listen. Frequently, you need to ask questions that will bring out the issues and challenges that the individual is facing. Active listening is good because it allows the manager to hear the individual out and uncover problems that are causing serious work disruption. More importantly, it allows the individual to express themselves and decompress. Most of the time, people just want to be heard.

Bringing Out Answers
When you uncover problems and you know already know the simple solution, pause. Then, stop yourself from telling the individual the answer. Instead, ask another important question: “What do you think we should do about it?” This will encourage the individual to think and solve his own problem, instead of going to you every time there is a roadblock. More often than not, individuals already know the answers. All a coach has to do is bring it out in a reassuring way.

People want feedback. They want to know if they are doing a good job or need to improve. Coaching gives you the time to give your people feedback that is focused on your set goals and objectives. So after going through the above tips, end your coaching sessions by giving sincere feedback generously aside from the next action steps. Be sure to be tactful and encouraging. Remember that coaching is about bringing out the best from the person. So uplift his spirit and always give him hope.

People want to be recognized. As a coach, you can encourage the individual to really grow by celebrating milestones and achievements. Give cheers and pat your staff on the back whenever he or she does a good job. Let the individual feel appreciated as part of the team. This will uplift the individual’s or group’s morale. A team composed of individuals with high spirits will win and be on top of their game. Celebrate each minor success on your way to the big triumph. Be the coach who leads his team to victory.

I recommend attending this seminar to learn Effective Coaching Techniques.


Note:  This article was originally published at Manila Bulletin Newspaper.

Jhoanna O. Gan-So is president of Businessmaker Academy and HR Club Philippines.  Her organization offers public seminars and in-house training on Human Resource Management and Business Skills Development.   You may email your comments and questions to: