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Manager As Coach, by Keith E. Webb

Aug 23rd, 2009 | By | Category: Missions Coaching - Guest Posts

You might be surprised at who really does most of the coaching in organizations – managers.

Contrary to popular belief, most coaching is not done by expert coaches from outside the organization, otherwise known as external or executive coaches.

Rather, most coaching is done by already overworked line managers. In non-profit organizations line managers are supervisors, team leaders, pastors, field directors, regional leaders, and the like.

A recent survey of UK companies revealed a lot about trends in coaching. The survey found that external coaches weren’t used at all in 32% of organizations. When they were used they delivered less than 25% of the total coaching activities.

The majority of coaching in these UK organizations is done by managers and internal coaches. In fact, 67% of organizations say that managers are expected to coach their staff.

But manager coaches receive very little training. The study goes on to report that only 2% of respondents train all managers to coach and only 17% train a majority.

How much training do they receive? Surprisingly, 38% of respondents received less than 2 days training, and around a third received 2-5 days training. My experience shows non-profit organizations do no better.

What’s the future of manager coaches? Nearly two-thirds of the UK companies surveyed expect coaching by managers to increase in the next few years.

Two books I recommend that provide practical help for manager coaches are: First Among Equals and The Coaching Manager.

Survey source: CIPD Learning and Development Survey 2007

How About You?

  • How confident are you in your own coaching skills?
  • Do you expect your managers – be they team leaders, field leaders, or supervisors – to coach?
  • How do you support managers in acquiring coaching skills?


Dr. Keith E. Webb is a professional certified coach helping organizations develop the capacity and skills of people while multiplying organizational results. Keith is the author of The COACH Model for Christian Leaders. He developed the 61-hour Core Coaching Skills Certificate Program and offers a free monthly newsletter with articles like this one.
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