The role and responsibilities of line managers has been changing to meet new demands of modern business. The advent of coaching within the business environment is presenting new opportunities for companies to strengthen their learning and development functions.

There is a growing body of evidence to show that coaching works. It has been proven to be effective at helping people take action towards achieving their goals, at gaining more life and job satisfaction, improving communication and helping people to become more self-reliant generally.

While the benefits of coaching are clear, are they financially viable for a business?

Bringing in an external coach can be expensive and may be cost prohibitive at scale. Adapting line managers into a dual role, which incorporates the role of coach, can be an effective solution and has great potential to save businesses time and money. Additionally, adding coaching skills into a line manager’s armoury is a great way to encourage a coaching culture across the business.

According to the ICF report from 2009, coaching not only benefits individuals, but also the organisation they work for.

  • 80% of people who receive coaching report increased self-confidence
  • 70%+ benefit from improved work performance, relationships, and more effective communication skills
  • 86% of companies reported that they recouped their investment on coaching and more.

Companies who decide to invest in their staff reap the rewards; not only are their staff, and therefore business, more efficient, but coaching seemingly pays for itself.

You reap what you sow.
Investing in your staff can pay huge dividends for both you and your employees.

However, could line management be the next step in coaching? Training a line manager to act as a coach alongside their existing role responsibilities, has great potential to streamline coaching benefits and to improve the overall skill base of managers.

According to Purcell and Hutchinson, line managers are those who are responsible for one or more work-groups and who have at least one employee directly reporting to them.

Due to the decentralisation of learning and development in the workplace over recent years, line managers have been placed firmly in a position of responsibility to help facilitate and encourage the development of their staff. Line managers are in the perfect position to adopt the role of coach to their team.

The CIPD found evidence that UK businesses are increasingly expecting their line managers to take on the role as coaches. Are these reasonable expectations?

Utilising a line manager as a coach can enhance the overall working environment, shifting the relationship from one of manager and subordinate, to one of coach and coachee.

Coaching, as opposed to managing, implies a two-way communication process between both the coach and coachee. Whilst the aim of managing is to oversee the work of others, coaching aims to develop motivation, attitude, judgment or ability to perform, and the willingness to contribute to an organisation’s goals.

Communication is key.

In addition to driving bottom line results, developing managers to adopt the skills and behaviours of a coach helps nurture the kinds of conversation which develop and grow teams. This focuses attention towards changing attitudes and behaviours, in order to yield long-term success.

One of the key challenges however, when developing the line manager as coach is that coaching is not their main role. As such, they may feel they lack the experience and qualification to carry out this role effectively. Having a robust framework and mechanism where the coaching insights and prompts are provided for you can greatly assist this process.

Engage offers a great solution to this challenge. Scientifically validated, Engage is an online coaching diagnostic which measures an individual’s mindset and readiness for change. It offers a series of reports with detailed guidance on how to work with each team member. This creates a perfect framework for developing the line manager into coach. It brings consistency of approach, fast tracking effective conversations, while providing a universal coaching language across the business.

To find out more about how to become an Engage Accredited Coach, or how to develop your line manager in the dual role of ‘coach’, take a look at our webinars, or contact us here, or call us on +44 (0)20 3393 2499.