Employee Engagement

How to be a Coach, Not Just a Manager, To Your Employees


It’s often said that one of the most valuable assets for any company is an effective manager. Not only are managers responsible for meeting company goals, they are also tasked with setting the stage for employees to be as productive as possible. Whether that means promoting an office culture steeped in teamwork and friendly competition, or making sure everyone respects an open communication policy, managers go above and beyond to guarantee a healthy work environment for their employees. 

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Perhaps one of the most underrated responsibilities of a manager is keeping a pulse on employee development. As a manager, you are responsible for being the “go to” person when an employee has questions or needs clarification on a project. The obvious thing to do in these instances would be to provide the right feedback to keep the wheels going on a project. However, it is worth taking a closer look at your role as Manager and evaluating how to better advise your employees so that they can meet their maximum potential. The goal is simple: to get employees to see you as a coach, a personal resource, and not just a boss. Once you invest in employee development, you’ll start to see a more independent and motivated team of workers committed to the company’s success. As the saying goes, “A team is only as strong as their leader. Here are some ways you can be a better coach to your employees:

Set Aside Time for Employees


Overseeing employees is the crux of any managerial job. But sometimes it is easy to get so wrapped up on deadlines that you forget to “check in” with your team. Make sure you set aside time to speak to your employees, especially if they specifically ask to meet with you. Chances are they might have some questions on a task or want to speak to you about an issue that requires a sit down conversation. No matter what the reason, take the time out of your schedule to be there for your employees and let them know you are ready to find the best solution to meeting their needs. Employees will feel acknowledged and reciprocate by giving you a level of trust that is revered by all of management. 

Set Reasonable and Effective Goals


The best way to motivate your team is to set goals they can use to measure their progress at work. Goals will give your employees a sense of purpose and make them feel accomplished once they are completed. They can lead your team in the direction you hope to take them, all the while uniting them under a common cause. Make sure the goals you set are realistic, stimulating, and important for the company’s growth. Be sure to provide feedback along the way!

Delegate Tasks

Mastering the art of delegation is one of the best things you can do as manager. In your role, you’re probably swamped with a ton of work coming from all different directions. So why not distribute some responsibility among your team? Decide which tasks do not require your level of expertise and start assigning them to employees whom you think are capable. Explain projects in detail and be available for any follow up questions that may pop up. Without putting on too much pressure, let employees know that you trust them to take on the assignment and that you are available if need be. Successful delegation will lead to increased productivity on everyone’s part but perhaps most importantly, leave employees feeling confident in their abilities and leadership.

Engage in Conflict Resolution

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With so many people working together on a daily basis, it is inevitable for some conflict to develop within your team. As manager, the best way to approach conflict is to deal with it directly instead of hiding from it. As tempting as it is to turn the other cheek and pretend a problem doesn’t exist, the reality is that a wound left untreated will often grow to infect other spaces, or in this case, other employees. 

When you notice a conflict, take charge and confront it as soon as possible. If it’s between two employees, create an opportunity for them to sit down and express themselves while you act as the mediator. If you feel a diplomatic solution is too difficult to attain given your jurisdiction, you can direct the conflict to HR. Remember to not feel discouraged if the issue isn’t solved right off the bat. The important thing is that you tried and employees will respect a manager who tackles difficult situations as opposed to one who pretends to be aloof for the sake of avoiding conflict.

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About the Author

Kathleen Cancio Headshot

Kathleen Cancio is a freelance blogger who has worked in PPC Marketing and Public Policy Research. She was most recently a Search Marketing Analyst at CommonMind, LLC, one of Clutch’s top PPC Agencies for 2015. She has a wide range of interests including painting, traveling and hiking.