Does My Struggling Manager Need A Coach?

Perhaps you’ve seen Gallup's stats on how managers drastically affect employee engagement and productivity. Without the right help, a struggling manger could be a damaging liability.

Maybe you have a manager that's a poor communicator that neglects or avoids tough conversations. Perhaps they're rude, demeaning or verbally abusive - cue the formal complaints to HR.

Often they’re poor listeners or lack empathy and have a hard time connecting with and influencing their team. They're often low in self-awareness about their behaviors and the negative influence they are having on those around them - everyone else knows, but they don't!

Obviously, a manager who exhibits any of these behaviors impacts their team and others around them on a daily basis. Like the ripples of a stone thrown into water, the effects of a struggling manager can grow far beyond the immediate situation at hand.

Depending on what efforts you've made to remedy the situation, one-on-one coaching might be a good next step. If you feel like your manager is struggling and may benefit from objective outside counsel and are unsure if that's the right decision, here are a few questions you can ask:


1.    How long has their behavior been going on?

2. How damaging has their behavior been (to productivity, morale, etc)?

3.    How much time has been wasted trying to resolve the issue?

4.    Have others complained or quit as a result?

5.    Is the employee valuable and worth the investment to remedy?

How long has their behavior been going on? Sometimes bad manager behavior rears its head once, is addressed and never seen again. Other times, it becomes a recurring situation with on-going and deepening implications. Coaching can help address long-term struggles and/or egregious behavior challenges.

How damaging has their behavior been (to productivity, morale, etc)? Bad management behavior spews shrapnel deeper into the company and potentially can do a lot of damage. Consider the effects on the team's enthusiasm, energy and desire to do a job well done.

How much time has been wasted trying to resolve the issue? Every minute spent trying to solve employee issues is a minute not spent on delivering business results. Drama and complaints divert everyone's focus. Weak managers are a costly liability and the sooner problems are addressed, the faster you get a return on productivity and profits.

Have others complained or quit as a result? Poor managers affect everyone around them. If you hear grumbling and complaints and folks come to HR for help, the problem may have deep roots. You’ll know it’s an even bigger challenge if people quit and claim their manager was the reason.

Is the employee valuable and worth the investment? It’s tough to lose leaders who are critical to the business, especially if they have a hard-to-replace position, have specialized skills sets, or are high up in the ranks. Providing coaching to your most valuable leaders is an investment strategy that saves time and energy over recruiting someone new. 

Keep in mind, coaching may not be the solution to every situation. There are times a manager has been miscast in a role or is unable to deliver the skills and effectiveness required in a leadership position. Exiting them could end up being the logical solution.

Use the above questions as a starting point to help guide the decision on whether to hire a coach for your struggling manager.

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