Managerial coaching, a necessity in organisations

MANAGERIAL coaching is gaining momentum and will be increasingly more imperative in the near future. There are manifold factors which have led to the rapid rise of the managerial coaching movement, particularly in Zimbabwe and in our continent. The main driver of managerial coaching is the shortage of right managers with proper qualities and attitude who if trained have the capacity to boost organisational performance and productivity.

By Emmanuel Zvada

Coaching is mainly concerned with performance and the development of certain skills as required. It is supposed to take place on a one-to-one basis on the same time having a specific purpose, but in line with objectives of the organisation. It takes the form of a personal (usually one-to-one) on-the-job coaching approach to help the employees develop their skills and levels of competence. Companies and other organisations, while increasingly realising the benefits of coaching interventions in the workplace, out of necessity they must also deliberate at the expense of hiring external coaches to provide these services. These realisations have now prompted some companies to look at internal coaching as a means of reducing these external costs and this is done by human resources (HR) managers or other managers in-house.

Managerial coaching is a concept that attempts to provide a fine distinction in terms of who the coachee is, the skills and behaviours of the coach, and what the coachee is receiving as part of the coaching process. It focuses on unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. This type of coaching is when a supervisor or manager is serving as a coach, or facilitator of learning, in which he or she enacts specific behaviours that enable the employees to improve their performance. Managerial coaching in organisations can be linked to a variety of goals in the organisation, including improved performance management, long-term business success, employee engagement, productivity, career growth, and many more. It is an irrefutable fact that if a manager is a good coach that can automatically cascade down to the employees and the organisation at large. A good coach (manager) is one who determines what drives the team he or she is managing then pro-actively designs coaching programmes and initiatives that are properly aligned to the goals of the organisation.

In many organisations, coaching is overlooked, due to the lack of time available and the pressures to get results. It is sometimes handed off to HR to deal with the problem and deliver results. This is an impossible task, since HR professionals are accountable for reporting on their client’s performance and they are not specialists in their client’s business or processes and in some cases technical and or functional expertise. For this reason, it is crucial for some leaders who are having difficulty coaching their employees to work in partnership with the HR to develop the best possible development plans for their employees. HR can coach the coach/manager on how to coach their employees and teams for higher performance.

The main reason for coaching managers is to impart skills, behaviour and performance necessities for them to cascade to the employees they manage. Most managers need to be developed in order to get better at coaching. Employees normally emulate the behaviour of their managers. As a result, it will be the prerogative of the manager to be a good coach such that even the employees will imitate that which is good. Coaching will be most effective when the coach understands that their role is to help people to learn at the same time maximising the performance and productivity of the organisations. Coaching should provide motivation, structure and effective feedback if managers have the required skills and commitment.

It is important to note that the need for coaching may arise from formal or informal performance reviews, but opportunities for coaching will emerge during normal day-to-day activities. Coaching, as part of the normal process of management, consists of making employees aware of how well they are performing by, for example, asking them questions to establish the degree to which they have thought through what they are doing, challenges faced or any recommendations if any.

Coaching and development should be part of organisation’s culture. In order to make this shift happen, organisations need to create a culture of coaching, incorporate it in training and development programmes and performance review processes at all levels of the organisation. In this way, the role of coaching and its importance as a management will be valued. If an organisation is going to develop and implement a coaching program, the first task is to understand the context. That is, the organization needs to articulate why coaching and mentoring are important for both the development of people and the organisation’s success in the short-term and long-term.

Good coaches have more productive employees, hence, managers must understand that coaching is not necessarily a separate conversation or activity, but can easily be woven in to the conversations they are already having with employees. By coaching their teams more frequently and effectively, managers can reduce the time they spend on giving direction, correcting poor performance, solving problems, making decisions, etc, as a result improving the efficient and effectiveness of the organisation. Coaching, if done properly, can also improve employee engagement. In most cases, managers who are considered good coaches have more engaged teams and employee engagement is a driving factor in retaining top talent.

Lastly, coaching skills are becoming part of every manager’s toolkit. There is no doubt that coaching has evolved as a professional practice and a discipline. It is a critical and essential skill for every manager to have coaching skills, everyone needs a coach even the coach needs also coach of the coaches. It is also important to note that some people will embrace coaching naturally and realise the impact and difference it can have on every aspect of their life and others will need coaching to become coaches.

 Emmanuel Zvada writes in his own capacity he is a human capital consultant / international recruitment expert and author: For comments inbox to or call +263771467441.