Manager as Coach / Mentor

It is a common situation for a line manager to also take the role of coach or mentor for their direct reports. There are a few boundary considerations to bare in mind. It is also worth exploring the best approach to take to get the best from the different aspects of each relationship.

For a solid starting point, there is a chapter in John Whitmore’s excellent book Coaching for Performance.

Coaching is a resonant leadership style that drives powerful positive results when executed appropriately according to Dan Goleman. A summary of these leadership styles from his book Primal Leadership can be found in the Materials tab of this topic.

Both coaching and mentoring are approaches a line manager can use to develop individuals and teams. They should not prevent the manager from being able to have conversations of a different nature, for example, to manage poor performance. Also, worth noting is the need for a continuous assessment of the rapport or strength of relationship. Where there is low levels of trust, coaching can come across as micro-managing and actually further erode trust.