Coaching skills for Managers

I've been a qualified coach for a little while now, and before that I was using coaching techniques on and off for years, plus being coached myself intensively!

Here's what I've learned as a manager, business owner, business developer, qualified coach, and as your average human being.


One of the main coaching skills is listening. Really listening.

It's something I've got much better at but it's a skill and it takes practice.

When did someone last listen to you. Allow you to talk without interruption. Be able to reflect back what you say. And how did it make you feel?

Valued? Respected? Empowered?

You will find active listening really useful in a range of business meetings. It enables you to pick up on what a client or team member wants. And what they're not saying. And how they use language. By listening, you can tune into how people speak, identify stressors and connect better with those around you.

Exercise: When you're next in a meeting or on a call, try listening for about 80% of the time...

Reflecting Back

Coaching also works because a key skill is using 'reflecting back' to check understanding.

It sounds easy. You listen to what is being said, and then repeat it back to the person to check you've understood correctly.

It's great in a business context when your manager or director has just listed a load of projects or priorities because it enables you to say it back to them to make sure you've understood correctly.

And in sales meetings, you can use 'reflecting back' to confirm you've understood your client. It also assures them that you're listening and understanding them (since a common complaint is that sales people do not listen to their customers).

And if something is said that takes you by surprise and you're not sure how to respond, it's really helpful too. I found this helpful in meetings when I was given a surprising bit of news and needed time to process what I'd just heard.