Know When to Manage and When to Coach

The difference between managing and coaching is a central topic in my Coaching Clinic courses, as is how to effectively merge the two into a manager-coach style. In today’s workplace, most of us need to be both coaches and managers, and so it is important to understand when it is most effective to wear which hat.

In the Forbes article “Know When to Manage and When to Coach”, the author describes managing as being “about telling, directing, authority, immediate needs, and a specific outcome” whereas coaching “involves exploring, facilitating, partnership, long-term improvement, and many possible outcomes”.

In practice, people may need a combination of styles depending on the complexity of the task assigned, the person’s experience with the task, and the competency levels required to complete it well. The article provides a useful classification of situations to identify which style to apply: Direct, Delegate, Develop.

Knowing when to direct, delegate or develop is critical to managerial effectiveness.

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