When Should Managers Coach And When Should They Tell?

October 13, 2017

A manager must wear many different hats in the office, a friend hat, a leader hat, a coach hat and a dictator hat.

The truth is that there are times when a manager can benefit the team and overall company by coaching and educating employees to be better selves; on the other hand, there are times when a manager needs to act more like a dictator and simply tell their subordinates what needs to be done and how it should be done.

Many leaders find it difficult to figure out when they need to coach and when they need to simply say what needs to be done.

Review the following suggestions for helping you become a more effective leader.

New Employees Should Be Told What To Do

No one disputes the benefits of what coaching can do for new employees.

While a manager needs to dedicate time to coaching a new team member, in the beginning, they will mostly benefit from being told what to do.

Remember that even if a person has demonstrated experience in a specific area, that does not mean that they are aware of your specific corporate culture or the way you do things.

Onboarding is not a short process, and one that can take upwards of one year, which is not something all managers realise.

When an employee first joins your department, you need to be upfront and direct about your expectations, goals and plans.

Provide detailed and measurable tasks that will not leave ambiguity between what you expect the employee to do and what they think they should do.

Being told what needs to be done and how it should be done is the most effective way of onboarding a new candidate into your team.

Employees Should Be Coached At Appraisal Meetings

According to Forbes, “coaching works best for developmental purposes, especially when you have a team of competent professionals already performing at a reasonably high level.”

You likely know that appraisals should not be limited to annual reviews, but should be held consistently and frequently. Stop the age-old thought process that considers a feedback session to only be for the good of the company.

Instead, utilise appraisals to train and mentor your employees to be more productive, efficient and professional.

This is the time to coach your team members based on their professional goals that are relevant to them in pursuing their careers.

Employees Should Be Told What To Do In Crisis Situations

Unfortunately, with business moving at the speed of light nowadays, many companies have faced crisis situations.

Although you may not believe in a traditional hierarchy at the office, there are times when a manager needs to take charge and tell others what to do.

After all, you were hired to be a leader based on your experience, skills and good judgment.

While you may choose to be a more democratic leader, during times of crisis, it is imperative for you to put your leader hat and quickly and directly tell others what needs to be done.

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