Subscribe to our Newsletter

Manager-Coach: Building High-Performing Teams with Employee Coaching

Adeline de Oliveira
A manufacture manager doing a daily field round with an employee

In an organizational context where we are faced with a shortage of workforce, where people are looking for meaning and a sense of accomplishment in their work, companies in all industries must adapt and change. 

At the heart of this transformation lies employee coaching, a form of management that goes beyond simple supervision to foster workers' engagement and professional development while contributing to the organization's performance.

As a manager, the reality of your day-to-day work is that most of your tasks are dictated by your company objectives and, therefore, by results and performance management. But what does this mean for your teams? When did you last accompany one of your employees during a professional activity (customer meeting, team meeting, etc.), and did so in a coaching posture?

If you've decided to go down this road, we'd like to help you better understand the concept of manager-coach, why it's essential to build a strong coaching relationship, and how it can positively influence a company's organizational dynamics.

Key takeways:

  • Recognize the numerous advantages of incorporating employee coaching in the workplace, such as improved performance, increased engagement, and enhanced leadership skills.
  • Foster a culture that values coaching by providing training and resources to managers and employees, promoting open communication, and encouraging continuous learning and development.
  • Actively seek out opportunities where coaching employees can make a significant impact, such as during performance evaluations, onboarding new recruits, or when addressing specific skill gaps.
  • Encourage managers to adopt a coaching approach in their leadership style, providing guidance, support, and regular feedback to employees to help them reach their full potential.
  • Implement mechanisms to track and evaluate the effectiveness of coaching programs, such as collecting feedback from employees, monitoring performance metrics, and conducting regular assessments to ensure continuous improvement.

In a hurry? Save this article as a PDF.

Tired of scrolling? Download a PDF version for easier offline reading and sharing with coworkers.

Download a PDF version.

The manager's roles and responsibilities

Managers have many roles to play daily, often lacking time for employee skill development. Organizations and their leaders, therefore, routinely pass this responsibility on to the Human Resources department, which, in most cases, translates into a training offer made available to workers. Subsequently, the challenge for the employees and the organization is making the most of this investment in day-to-day operations.

But why not share this responsibility and emphasize the importance of the manager's role as coach in developing employee skills?

The frontline manager frequently interacts with employees. They know what is expected from them, their job experience, and the skills they need. They are in a position to identify executive coaching opportunities – from which they will benefit firsthand.

But they’re not the only ones: all managers, regardless of their level, can gain from adopting the manager-coach posture.

Improving Business Performance THROUGH MANAGEMENT Download our Whitepaper

What is employee executive coaching?

It can be described as a type of management or leadership that combines the traditional role of a manager with the role of a coach. 

This approach is based on developing employees' potential by guiding, supporting, and encouraging them to achieve their professional and personal goals. It targets both experienced employees and new ones.

The manager-coach not only gives orders or supervises team members but also plays an active role in their growth. This style of leadership approaches management in a more human and collaborative way. It aims to strike the right balance between fulfilling employees' interests and achieving business objectives.

List of the key skills and characteristics of a manager-coach

Here are some of the main skills and characteristics of a manager-coach:

  • Mentoring and skills development
  • Open communication
  • Autonomy and responsibility
  • Constructive feedback
  • Inspiration and motivation
  • Active listening
  • Conflict resolution
  • Learning culture
  • Time management skills
  • Coaching skills

The benefits of coaching employees

Here are some of the positive impacts that employee coaching can have on your employees and the company as a whole.

The benefits of the manager-coach approach for employees and companies

Maximizing employee potential

During coaching activities, the manager-coach can contribute in a more meaningful way to the employee’s professional fulfillment by helping them to work on their strengths, thus developing their potential. The employee feels valued, and the organization reaps the benefits of a highly engaged and committed workforce.

Accelerated employee development

By carrying out effective coaching sessions regularly, the manager-coach increases the frequency of interventions and their quality – both key factors in boosting employee’s progress.

Greater accountability at every management level 

When a team member cannot perform a task, their immediate supervisor often has to compensate. By accompanying them, the manager-coach can empower them. Instead of simply issuing orders with authority, they encourage autonomy, initiative, and creativity within the team. 

Meanwhile, delegation frees the coach's time to invest in their administrative tasks.

Better employee engagement 

  • According to a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, the more effective a leader is at developing and coaching employees, the more engaged and committed their direct reports will be.
  • Another interesting finding, this time from the Gallup research company: 70% of a team's engagement is influenced by managers.

These results show that the way managers lead and encourage employees has a great impact not only on the employees themselves but also on the company as a whole.

By building trusted relationships based on recognition and nonviolent communication, the manager-coach enables their employees to feel more involved and determined. This increases engagement which leads to greater job satisfaction and reduces the risk of burn-out and turnover, for an overall improvement in corporate culture.

Increased organizational and employee performance 

By developing the employee’s skills, the leader-coach creates a qualified team whose effectiveness positively impacts the organization's performance.

How to adopt a manager-coach posture and offer the best support  

Here are eight simple and proven practices and behaviors that will help you coach employees effectively in your day-to-day work.

List of manager-coach best practices

1) Develop your communication skills

Communication is essential. You need to be able to listen actively, ask open-ended questions, and provide feedback. Learn to express your expectations clearly, give frequent constructive feedback, and encourage employees during coaching conversations.

2) Adopt a mentoring approach

As a manager-coach, you need to be ready to act as a mentor. Identify your employees' skills, strengths, and areas for improvement. Create an individual employee coaching program for each worker to foster career development. 

3) Make time for coaching

Like any good activity, it's unlikely to happen if you don't have a plan. Make room in your agenda for coaching sessions with each of your team members.

Define coaching activities and spread them out over time with deadlines, and you'll gain in efficiency.

4) Create effective coaching activities

Accompany your employees in their daily activities so that you can see them in action and provide them with constructive feedback afterward.

Use role-playing exercises to teach them how to deal with change in a low-risk context.

5) Encourage autonomy 

Encourage team members to take initiatives and find solutions to their problems on their own. Give them room to experiment and learn from their mistakes. Make sure you're there to support them when needed.

6) Establish a climate of trust

Build a work environment of trust where employees feel comfortable expressing their ideas, asking questions, and sharing concerns. 

Be open to feedback and ensure they know they can confidently talk to you.

7) Be patient

Setting up an effective workplace coaching process may take some time. Be patient with your employees and avoid putting too much pressure on them. Encourage them to progress at their own pace.

8) Evaluate and adjust 

Regularly review individual development plans with your employees to ensure they're on track. Be prepared to adjust your practice, tools, and way of doing things according to each employee's changing needs.

WE COACH YOUR MANAGERS TO BECOME True Team LeadersDownload our brochure

Seizing coaching opportunities at different times 

Successful employee coaching doesn't always have to be planned. When one employee comes to you for help, seize the opportunity. You can also incorporate coaching into your management meetings. The manager-coach posture is not only a responsibility associated with specific activities but rather a way of being.

By valuing the coaching role and devoting time to the coaching process regularly, you will ground your company on a solid structure, where employees are engaged and work to reach their full potential.

The importance of being coached for better employee coaching

For any manager aspiring to become a manager-coach, it's essential to recognize the importance of being coached.

You can only gain a deeper understanding of coaching and management principles by first receiving personal guidance and developing your leadership and coaching skills. This learning process is also an opportunity to get to know yourself better as a human being and leader, and to show greater empathy towards your employees.

By being coached, you become a role-model of personal and professional development. This will strengthen your credibility as a manager-coach, while fostering the learning culture you want to establish in your company.

Being the best manager and coach: An indispensable pillar for the company's future

Adopting the posture of manager-coach means taking a stand: by putting people first through effective coaching and support, you enable your teams to better collaborate, make informed decisions, solve problems effectively, and rally around a common goal – building a successful company. 

The role of manager and coach is not limited to the individual; it extends to the whole company. Encouraging employees' involvement and developing new skills shape a culture of learning and continuous improvement. This culture pinpoints an organization's ability to adapt to market changes and maintain competitiveness rapidly.

FAQ on employee coaching

What are the benefits of integrating employee coaching in the workplace?


How can coaching help organizations achieve their goals?


What skills should a manager-coach have?


What are the best practices for integrating coaching into business?


How can organizations measure the effectiveness of coaching programs?


Are you ready to transform your management style and become a manager-coach?

Proaction International's seasoned consultants offer personalized support to help you excel as a manager.

Adeline de Oliveira

Adeline de Oliveira

Writer and editorial manager for about 15 years, Adeline de Oliveira is passionate about human behavior and communication dynamics. At Proaction International, she covers topics ranging from Industry 5.0 to operational excellence, with a focus on leadership development. This expertise enables her to offer insights and advice on employee engagement and continuous improvement of managerial skills.