Managers as coaches
August 28, 2018

Managers as coaches

By: Healthstat

How to effectively coach employees to improve engagement and productivity

Real innovation - the kind that results in productivity boosts, major breakthroughs, and high-talent acquisition - relies on engagement. When the managers in an organization can also act as workplace coaches, their impact is felt in both employee engagement and in revenue per employee.  

Strategic direction is typically the purview of an organization’s executive leadership. But on a day-to-day basis, it is often managers and team leaders who hold the keys to shaping the employee experience. Managers can be the open door when it comes to employees feeling that the work they’re pursuing is meaningful. The opposite is also true. 

Read on for 3 simple rules that will make your managers better workplace coaches. 

Turning Managers into Coaches and Agents of Change

Rule #1: Communicate Often About Objectives

The first rule of thumb for workplace coaches? Consistent communication about performance and objectives. Managers should be connecting with their employees, identifying their strengths and leveraging their natural talents. Conversely, too much focus on weaknesses or tough feedback can create a blame culture more than it promotes learning. Better to heed the words of Ron Friedman who says, “Mistakes are the tuition you pay for success.”

Rule #2: Ask for Ideas

Managers should also be soliciting employees’ opinions and ideas. While business decisions are ultimately up to team leaders, employees thrive when they feel like they are being heard. This also provides the benefit of employees being “coached” to offer up ideas as a habit, which keeps the whole company forward-thinking. People want to make a difference, and to feel a greater sense of control over their work instead of work being something that just happens to them.

Rule #3: Communicate the Importance of the Work

Organizations routinely see more engagement when they treat employees as contributing to the company’s future. Employees need to know that their work matters: that it’s making a difference, affecting the world, and creating results. This can mean sharing the latest from a meeting or sales decision, keying employees in on change initiatives, or simply letting employees know that their work is being seen.

Today's Leadership Challenge

In its 2018 Trends in North America Employee Engagement, Aon says 64% of US employees are engaged, which they define as being emotionally and intellectually involved in a way that motivates them to do their best work. Not every survey is as generous, with Gallup finding only 3 in 10 US employees engaged in their work on a daily basis.

If that’s concerning (and it should be), take confidence in the fact that 70% of the variance in employee engagement can be attributed to the role of managers and their ability to become workplace “coaches.”

The Results of Workplace Coaches

According to Gallup, companies that consistently pick high-talent managers for leadership generate 27% more revenue per employee. And, employees who work for highly engaged (read: high-talent) managers are themselves 59% more likely to be engaged.



As part of its own focus on managers in the workplace, Healthstat partners with Motion Infusion, a company that runs a dynamic program called “Managers on the Move”. This half-day workshop promotes wellness-minded skills and ideas for managers to adopt within the workplace. The idea of manager as a “coach” is considered with goals like transparent communication, daily engagement, and employee-focused wellness initiatives.

With an increasingly technological workplace and a labor force redefining expectations, the results are in: managers who act like coaches get the most out of their teams. Interested in learning more about employee engagement? Want to know how workplace wellness plays a critical role in the health of your company? Subscribe to Insights or visit Healthstat on our Facebook page.