- Leaders who can serve as coaches to their direct reports can drive high engagement, but managers are not naturally prepared to serve in this role, a June report from Forrester explained.
- Coaching empowers employees by ensuring managers actively listen and meet their direct reports where they are. But managers are often promoted without any training in coaching techniques, creating frustration across the board. "Bad managers engage in unproductive behaviors, such as micromanagement, providing limited (or no) feedback, and focusing on weaknesses rather than strengths," Forrester said.
- A coaching model may help managers set up their direct reports for success by focusing on their reports' strengths, inspiring direct reports to grow their skills, checking in often and defining success together, the report noted.
Before the pandemic, workers complained that managers held them back from participating more directly at work. A Kimble Applications survey from 2019 showed that employees wanted their managers to ask for their opinions and input more often and that they had "an unfilled desire to contribute, make an impact and have their voices heard."
In turn, employee development trends were already pushing toward more dynamic, one-on-one engagement between employees and managers, especially as employers opted to lean more into mentorship and career development as key learning goals. The pandemic threw oil onto this fire — especially as employers lean into hybrid work.
Maintaining employee performance is one of the bigger questions around hybrid work's rise, and coaching may be one of the keys to doing so, experts previously told HR Dive. Employers struggle to teach these skills, however, a September report from the Association for Talent Development found; 60% of those surveyed said the top barrier to effective coaching was "not holding managers accountable for it," according to a statement by the association.
To improve manager training, employers may need to make "commitment to growth" a clear and communicated part of the company's mission statement, Forrester said in its report: "Ensure that you reflect development in your core values in order to enable managers to prioritize the time and energy spent on coaching."
The costs of not training managers to do so could be high, other surveys have shown. Particularly in the era of hybrid work, managers may need to be taught how to recognize workers who work remotely — especially women, who are typically less likely to receive promotions "in any working situation," a Perceptyx report from March found.