Coaching skills

5 Primary Coaching Skills for Managers and How to Develop Them

Picture this: you’ve landed that coveted manager title, team brimming with potential at your fingertips. Now comes the real challenge – guiding them to reach their full potential and forging a truly successful unit. Coaching becomes your secret weapon, but where do you even begin?

The truth is, many managers find themselves in this exact situation – enthusiastic about coaching but unsure of the specific skills needed to unlock its power. Here’s the good news: we’re here to bridge that gap. By honing just five essential coaching skills, you can transform yourself from a manager into a coach who empowers, motivates, and unlocks the hidden talents within your team. Imagine the impact – a team that thrives under your guidance, consistently exceeding expectations and crushing goals. Sound exciting? Let’s dive right in and explore these skills together.

What are the 5 Coaching Skills for Managers?

The term “coaching” has been used in various ways to describe a wide range of activities and professions. In general, coaching is a process that helps people achieve their goals. Coaches here are professionals with significant experience in the field and use their expertise to guide their students or clients. These coaches work with their clients to identify areas of improvement, set goals, and create action plans. They may also provide support and accountability to help their clients stay on track.

In terms of management, managers becoming coaches of their team members is one of the most effective management practices. But for that, managers need to have the right coaching skills. These coaching skills for managers are the specific abilities and knowledge that enable them to guide and support employees as they work to improve their performance and reach their career goals.

While “coaching” is often used interchangeably with “mentoring,” there are some critical distinctions between the two. Coaching is typically more focused on the present and future, while mentoring often looks back at the past to help someone learn from their experiences. Coaching is often more task-oriented, while mentoring relationships are often more personal and long-term.

Why do Managers need coaching skills?

  • Practice your skills: Managers who are good coaches have greater job satisfaction. It is because they can practice their skills and experience effectively. It also helps them develop practical leadership skills.
  • Create a positive work environment: Good coaching managers create a more positive work environment. It is because they can foster a climate of trust and collaboration. It also helps them develop the mindset required for effective team management.
  • Solve problems and improve core competencies: A good coaching manager is better at problem-solving. Their experience has taught them how to approach complex challenges their team members face. It also enhances many other significant management skills and competencies.
  • Increase team productivity: Good coaching managers can help increase the productivity of their employees by implementing effective strategies and techniques. Employees of good coaching managers have higher job satisfaction. That is because they feel their managers can provide guidance and support to achieve their career goals. Additionally, employees of good coaching managers often report feeling more connected to the organization and its goals.
  • Guide team members toward success: Good coaching managers develop more successful and effective employees. That is because they can provide guidance and support for their employees to improve their performance. Additionally, good coaching managers often develop a sense of camaraderie with their team members. This allows them to work more effectively as a TEAM.
  • Progress with your team: Ultimately due to all the outcomes mentioned above that good coaching managers bring, these managers create a more productive and progressive workplace. A manager with sound coaching skills can come out as an effective leader and gains the capability to take team management to the next level.
But, what exact coaching skills do managers need to unlock these benefits? Let’s figure that out in our next section.

Five Essential Coaching Skills for Managers

illustration showing coaching skills for managers by risely

Asking the right questions

As a manager, one of your most important roles is to ask the right questions to know your team. By asking the right questions, you can get to the heart of problems and needs and ensure that solutions and resources are in place. It is essential to ensure that your team is productive and outputs the best possible results. Managers should ask questions that are relevant to the situation at hand and probe beneath the surface.

By doing this, you’ll be able to build a close relationship with your team and help them grow in their careers. The managers here should also remember to ask the right questions in the right tone to ensure that the coaching conversation gives the right idea to team members. For that, this skill needs to be backed by good communication skills.

Recognizing what’s going well and what’s not

Managers must recognize what’s going well and what’s not to take corrective action. You can not be entirely sure that the way to manage them is practical and fail-proof. There will be something that will turn out positive, while some will also be harmful. That is why gaining this insight is essential. Achieving this level of understanding takes time and practice. By noticing the small changes and occurrences that indicate potential derailment, managers can nip potential issues in the bud before they become more significant problems. To achieve this level of success, managers need to be observant and keep a close eye on their team’s activity, performance, and morale.

Read more about one-on-one meetings to connect with your team effectively: One-on-one Meetings That Don’t Make Your Team Sigh

Listening and empowering

Coaching and management are two-way processes; you can’t be a good coach or manager without listening to and empowering your team members. As a manager, it is essential to have the ability to listen carefully to what your team members are saying and then empower them to take the necessary actions. This process begins by first understanding the employee’s problem or concern and then brainstorming solutions with them. After they are comfortable with the solution and understand why the management chose it, giving them the empowerment or authority to carry out the plan is essential. This way, they know they are taking charge of their work and responsibilities and are empowered to take the necessary steps to achieve their goals.

Understanding their perspective

As a manager, your job is to understand the perspectives of your team members and ensure that everyone is on the same page. Understanding their perspectives will allow you to manage them according to what suits them best, which is why it is one of the most critical coaching skills. To do this, you need to empathize with them and understand why they are making the decisions they are. It includes understanding their emotions and motivation and the factors influencing them. By taking the time to understand your team, you can help them feel appreciated and respected and help them work towards common goals.

Being comfortable with failure

Failures are a part of life, and it is a possible outcome of any potential intervention. That is why managers need to become comfortable with failure to become effective in coaching. It means understanding and embracing the fact that there will be mistakes, and learning from them is key to moving on. When you’re satisfied with failure, you are more likely to take risks, leading to innovation and growth in your business. It also helps you build a more resilient team, as they understand and appreciate your willingness to take risks.

Read more: 4 Effective Ways To Overcome Failure As A Manager

How to Coach Effectively as a Manager?

The role of a manager extends beyond overseeing tasks; it involves cultivating a dynamic team environment through effective coaching. Just as a sports coach empowers athletes to excel, a manager as a coach can inspire employees to reach their full potential. Let’s uncover the essential strategies for managers to coach effectively, promoting professional growth and team achievement.

Understanding the Coaching Role

Coaching as a managerial approach goes beyond traditional directives. It encompasses active listening, providing guidance, and fostering a growth mindset. Just as an astute coach understands each team member’s strengths and areas for improvement, a manager must comprehend their team’s skills, aspirations, and challenges when they adopt the role of a coach. In addition, it is essential for managers to remember that they are not just coaches, but can do much more by providing the right opportunities and hands-on experiences that a traditional coach may not.

Build the Skill Set

We had a look at the essential coaching skills for managers, but how do you build them? Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Asking the Right Questions: Harness the power of inquiry. Skillful questioning uncovers underlying issues, enabling tailored guidance. Engage in open-ended inquiries that encourage team members to reflect on their work, challenges, and goals.
  • Recognizing Progress: Acknowledge achievements, even the small ones. Positive reinforcement through feedback fuels motivation and self-confidence. By recognizing progress, managers instill a sense of accomplishment, inspiring further growth.
  • Listening and Empowering: Listening isn’t just hearing; it’s understanding. Empathetic listening builds trust, allowing managers to support employees in crafting solutions. Empower team members to take ownership of their tasks, fostering a sense of accountability.
  • Adapting to Individual Needs: Effective coaching accounts for individual differences. Tailor your approach to align with each employee’s learning style, goals, and challenges. Recognize that one size doesn’t fit all.
  • Navigating Failure Positively: Embrace setbacks as learning opportunities. Encourage your team to view failures as stepping stones to success. By normalizing failure as a part of growth, managers create a resilient and innovative workforce.

Balancing Coaching and Performance Management

While coaching aims for growth, performance management ensures organizational objectives are met – and a manager needs to be on top of their game at both the ends. Effective managers strike a balance, using coaching to guide improvement while addressing performance gaps constructively. Start by aligning individual objectives with the team’s overarching goals. When team members understand how their performance contributes to the collective success, it fuels motivation and collaboration.

When performance falls short, balance coaching with corrective action. Identify root causes, and instead of punitive measures, offer coaching to bridge gaps. Emphasize improvement rather than reprimand, fostering a culture of continuous growth.

How to improve coaching skills as a manager?

  • Build self-awareness: Understand your strengths and areas for development as a coach. Reflect on your communication style, empathy, and active listening. Recognizing your own biases allows you to connect authentically with your team.
  • Remember that feedback goes both ways: Invite feedback from your team and peers on your coaching techniques. Constructive criticism provides insights into your coaching approach’s effectiveness and helps you tailor it to individual preferences.
  • Become a role model: Practice what you preach. Display the skills and behaviors you expect from your team. Your actions serve as a powerful coaching tool, inspiring them to emulate your approach.
  • Seek external help: Engage with experienced coaches or mentors. Their insights and guidance can provide valuable perspectives and help you refine your coaching techniques. Otherwise, you can work on specific skills that you need to become an effective coach.
In this journey of coaching your team, there lies a lot of latent learning for you as well! Before you start coaching your team, here’s a quick list of the skills you need to polish to make your team shine: 

Click on any of the links to test your skills now and start improving daily with Risely.


So, are you ready to take your team from potential powerhouses to peak performers? Remember, this coaching journey isn’t a one-time thing – it’s a continuous loop of learning, development, and ultimately, triumph for both you and your team. As you master these coaching skills, you’ll witness a remarkable transformation – not just in your team’s performance, but in your own leadership abilities. So, put these skills into action, embrace the role of coach, and watch your team soar!

Test how prepared your coaching skills are with the free constructive feedback self-assessment.

Take the free constructive feedback self-assessment to access insights on your feedback style and grow more.


Why coaching skills is important for a manager?

Coaching skills are important for managers as they help them grow effective and helpful relationships with their team members. Managers with good coaching skills can closely guide the development of their team members and resultantly create the talent pool that the team needs. It enables team members to place trust in them.

What is coaching in management?

Coaching in management refers to the relationship between the manager and the employee which is defined to enable development of the latter. It creates a bond based on trust and communication which facilitates exchange of feedback, sharing insights, and guidance to achieve goals.

What are the three pillars of coaching?

The three pillars of coaching effectively as a manager are:
– awareness
– self-belief
– responsibility

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