The terms coaching and management are often used interchangeably, but they don't mean the same thing. While a manager typically organizes work and processes to get results, a coach boosts team performance and helps people reach their highest level of effectiveness. According to our experts and research, coaching is transformative at both the individual and organizational levels. Leaders who focus on coaching emphasize the “personal” aspect of managing people to achieve change. When employees feel valued for their work and contributions, they're more likely to stay.
In other words, coaching is about guiding, while managing usually involves counting. A comprehensive Gallup study of 1.2 million employees in 22 organizations around the world found that great managers aren't necessarily traditional bosses. Instead, they are coaches who prioritize individual and team participation, and view their role as providing what employees need to succeed. When managers switch from solution mode to training mode, employees are empowered to identify potential solutions on their own instead of simply following orders. Even when managers understand why they should adopt a more training-oriented style, old habits can easily get in the way.
We recently spoke with Carson Heady, a sales leadership expert at Microsoft and best-selling author of the Birth of a Salesman series, about the contrast between the management leadership approach and that of coaching. He noted that one of the biggest complaints about poor sales managers is that they don't provide their employees with opportunities for improvement and development through training. Whether or not you're ready to implement a formal training program to help managers develop coaching skills, core skills remain consistent across approaches, paid or not. A work coach takes an overview of the playing field and develops a strategy, just as a sports coach would in a traditional team environment. Learn how Skills Coach uses behavioral science and spaced repetition to help managers create new habits.
The team being trained is not a friend of the coach; in other words, the coach will move on when his work is finished. While managers can focus on responsibility and adopt an objective-based approach, the coach “gets into the trenches with his team and will discover what's really happening and then determine what motivates better performance.” Both management and coaching are essential for running a successful organization, but they have different objectives and results. In the long run, however, managers who continuously train their employees are rewarded with the rare advantage of time, as well as trained employees who can find meaning in their work.