4 Types of Workplace Coaching Every Manager Should Know

Coaching is a superpower for managers, and a surefire way to fast-track career development.

Here are four types of workplace coaching, followed by two coaching scenarios and questions you can start using today:

1. Laissez-faire coaching

Laissez-faire coaching involves leaving employees to do their work. This style is appropriate when team members are highly effective on their own.

2. Directive coaching

Directive coaching is akin to mentoring, when a manager with years of experience tells a newer employee what to do.

This style comes easily to many managers.

3. Non-directive coaching

Non-directive coaching draws wisdom, insight, and creativity out of others through listening, questioning, and withholding judgment.

 This style of coaching does not come easily to most managers.

4. Situational coaching

Situational coaching involves balancing directive and non-directive coaching.

Which Style to Choose?

It is recommended that managers first practice non-directive coaching, and then alternate between leadership coaching styles depending on the context.

Non-Directive Coaching Question (Example 1)

When someone says "I don't know [what to do]," ask "What if you did know?"

This is one of the most empowering questions to have in your tool belt!

Non-Directive Coaching Question (Example 2)

When someone says "I don't know [what I want/should work toward]," try this 3-step approach in response:

  • "What would you love to happen?"
  • Let them respond...listen intently
  • "If you knew it was possible to make that happen, what might your next action step look like?"

The Goal of Coaching in the Workplace

The goal of coaching is not to "fix" or correct someone. Coaching is a tool to help us reflect, question our stories, explore other perspectives, and take responsibility as we develop and grow.

With strong coaching skills, managers have the ability and agility to talk people through almost any situation.

Learn the art of asking empowering questions, and you WILL make an impact.

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