Coaching Skills for Managers – 3 Essentials

By Natanya Rutstein

Coaching is an essential leadership skill which demands that managers work in collaboration with their employees to explore and facilitate long-term growth and performance improvement. Getting it right is no simple task and requires much practice as well as developing a certain level of self-awareness and emotional intelligence on the part of the manager. I have chosen to focus on just three of these essential skills and techniques which you can begin practising should a coaching opportunity arises in the flow of work.

CREATE STRUCTURE – Using a coaching model will provide you with a framework to structure your conversations and keep the process moving forward. The GROW model is one of the most widely used coaching models and consists of just 4 steps:

Goals – set goals

Reality – explore where employee is now in relation to their goal.

Options – explore the options available to be able to move forward.

Way Forward – employee selects most viable option, and commits to next steps.

For more information on the GROW model see:

The GROW Model of Coaching and Mentoring –

Workplace coaching using the GROW model –

ASK POWERFUL QUESTIONS – Asking powerful questions is an essential coaching skill used to guide the employee through the coaching process and help him/her to make new insights and discover their own solutions. Through the use of open-ended questions, the employee will be energised to think more deeply and explore thereby increasing their own awareness and understanding of the situation at hand.

To get you started, here are some examples of powerful questions to use:

70 Coaching Questions for Managers Using the GROW Model –

16 Powerful Questions Coaches Ask Their Clients to Help Achieve Their Goals – 

ACTIVE LISTENING –Listening with intention and presence is the key to understanding the employee’s perspective, gathering sufficient information and knowing when to seek clarification in order to avoid making assumptions and/or challenge existing employee assumptions. Active listening will also help develop rapport with your employee, understand them better and will show your commitment to their professional development and empowerment.

Check out these resources to help develop your listening skills:

Active Listening Skills, Examples and Exercises –

5 ways to listen better | Julian Treasure –

The power of listening | William Ury | TEDxSanDiego –

Every leader should put effort into developing their coaching skills to create higher functioning employees and improve team performance!

Natanya Rutstein
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