[ QUIZ ] Coaching as an Effective Management Tool


Are you using coaching effectively as a tool for managing people? Take our quiz and find out!


  • What is coaching? (0:40)

  • How is coaching different from managing? (5:30)

  • QUIZ: Are You Using Coaching Effectively as a Tool for Managing People? (9:10)

  • Your turn… (15:50)

[ QUIZ ] Coaching as an Effective Management Tool

Today I want to talk a little bit about the nuances of coaching as a tool for managing people, with a focus on how using coaching skills will actually help reduce your burden of managing and dealing with humans.

So, let’s start with…

What Is Coaching?

Coaching is a unique collaboration between a manager or leader and a staff person. What makes this collaboration unique is that, even in relationships where there’s generally a hierarchy or a power structure in place, for this suspended little moment in time—

  • The two parties are equals, and

  • The goal of the conversation is always action towards change.

I invite you to keep that in mind while you read about what is and isn’t coaching, and then there will be a quick quiz you can take that will help you think about how effectively you are using the tool of coaching in your work.

So, why is coaching such an effective tool for management?

The world is moving way too fast to try and control or manage everything yourself. If you want to be effective, you need to be increasing accountability, skillfulness, and proactive problem solving within your team – and coaching will help you do that.

The traditional performance management systems often used today don’t provide feedback quickly enough. If you have to wait until a year or six months to give and get direct feedback from your team about how folks are doing, where they are with their goals, and what roadblocks are preventing them from performing at their optimal level, then you’re waiting way too long. That’s just not effective.

The other piece about traditional performance appraisals is that, generally, when people aren’t accustomed to coaching, or they’re not accustomed to handling tricky conversations about self-awareness and growth and development, the performance appraisal ends up being more of a debate around whether the supervisor’s observations are accurate versus What are the components, what are the pieces, and where are the places where movement towards change can actually occur?

Being able to listen and ask curious questions keeps you so much more in touch with the actual struggles, challenges, and hurdles that your staff face day to day. When you’re able to have these kinds of conversations and really be in that place of listening and curiosity, you’ll hear things talked about that may seem super-small right now – tiny, even – but when they’re not paid attention to, they can blow up to become really significant challenges that cost you, your team, and/or your organization time and money. And so, coaching conversations give you the opportunity to hear what’s really going on.

Coaching conversations empower your staff to uncover for themselves the natural and logical consequences of the decisions they make and the actions they choose to take (or, in some cases, the consequences of inaction). And they get to uncover this for themselves instead of you always being the one pointing these things out and helping them see the consequences.

A skillful coaching conversation helps them do the heavy lifting of uncovering these things, which makes the discovery far more meaningful and far more relevant for them.

Now that you know these four benefits to coaching conversations as a management tool, you might be wondering how coaching differs from how you manage people, day in and day out…

How Is Coaching Different from Managing?

Coaching is truly the art of facilitating another person’s learning, development, or desire to increase their performance. Coaching increases self-awareness, not only for the person you’re coaching but also within you.

Coaching asks the person being coached to identify solutions, actions, or choices, and to measure whether they have the tenacity and the comfort level to take the necessary actions, or if they are willing to make the investment in the action that’s required to bring those things forward. Essentially, coaching puts the onus squarely in their hands.

When you’re a manager or a leader who employs the tool of coaching, you are empowering the people around you to find their own solutions, to develop their own skills, and to use their own strengths and their own talents to shift their own attitudes and behaviors.

In essence, when you’re coaching, you’re shifting ownership and accountability over to the coachee so they can choose how they close the gap between their potential and their performance.

But I work with many managers and leaders who tell me, “Oh yeah, coaching? I do that. Yep. It’s in my job description. It’s one of my deliverables. We have a coaching environment here. We’re all required to be coaching.”

And then I ask them to give me a snippet or description of the last coaching conversation they had, and I’ll tell you, 7 out of 10 times what I hear is a great conversation but not a coaching conversation.

It might be a mentoring conversation, where they help someone on their team identify the pathway forward, navigate office or organizational politics, or think about what new skills to learn so they can improve and grow in their career.

The conversation may be advice-giving or consultation, where the manager’s responses are framed with, “Well, when I had to do that task, I did A, B, and C” or “Well, my experience is this” or “Well, have you tried X?”

Or the dialogue may be a performance session that is focused on helping the team member improve their job performance. These conversations are often littered with feedback, suggestions, and perhaps goals are set for the person to achieve, and the manager determines strategies and initiatives for them to take on.

Mentoring, advice-giving, and performance sessions are valuable, important, and critical parts of good management, BUT they’re not coaching conversations.

There are also times when managers tell us that they’re coaching when what they’re doing is showing up as an expert. They are—

  • Talking more than they’re listening.

  • Telling the coachee why their idea, decision, or choice won’t work, or how to improve upon it without really hearing what’s being said.

  • Not being curious about the information that’s being shared so they can facilitate the coachee to think deeper and wider about it.

  • Jumping in to share their perspective or experience, rushing in to take up that role of guru, teacher, or expert.

These additional things are also so necessary in management, but they’re not part of this very specific coaching conversation tool.

So, are you having coaching conversations with your staff? Let’s find out! Here’s your brief quiz…

QUIZ: Are You Using Coaching Effectively as a Tool for Managing People?

I invite you to grab a piece of paper and a pen, and for each question, jot down Yes, No, or – what might also come up for you is – Yeah, But...

1. I begin coaching conversations with the premise that the only person I can manage is myself and that the coachee is ultimately responsible for their own growth, development, decisions, and consequences.

[ ] YES            [ ] NO            [ ] YES, BUT…

2. I understand the difference between someone showing up in their Comfort Zone, their Stretch Zone, or their Panic Zone. And I, as the coach in this conversation, modulate my own energy, so I can show up clear and clean, and I hold space for the coachee to recognize and take responsibility for their energy. If someone indicates to me that they’re going into or arriving in their Panic Zone, I accept that, and I help them to ground back into their Stretch Zone.

[ ] YES            [ ] NO            [ ] YES, BUT…

3. I practice asking probing, open-ended questions that inspire the coachee to think deeper and more expansively.

[ ] YES            [ ] NO            [ ] YES, BUT…

5. I accept that the answers the coachee gives me are their truth in that moment. I accept that I can only see the world through my own lens. So,  I’m open to the coachee’s perspective and truth without trying to push mine onto them.

[ ] YES            [ ] NO            [ ] YES, BUT…

6. I expect the coachee to set the agenda for the conversation. I inquire what their intention and desired outcome are in a coaching conversation. I do not arrive with my own agenda or any attachment to my own desired outcomes.

[ ] YES            [ ] NO            [ ] YES, BUT…

7. I consciously strive to build reciprocity of trust, and I know this happens one conversation at a time and one action at a time. I allow the coachee space to do the same.

[ ] YES            [ ] NO            [ ] YES, BUT…


If you answered Yes to six or more questions, then congratulations! You are using coaching conversations, and you are showing up effectively in the role of coach.

If you answered Yes to fewer than six questions, you’re not alone – trust me! And you need to know that coaching is not a natural skill. Like anything, it takes patience, education, support, and practice to develop it and use it skillfully.

Your Turn…

So, I’m really curious about how you’re doing in terms of having coaching conversations…

If you’re like most leaders and managers I know, what exhausts you isn’t doing the work, what exhausts you are things like:

  • People who aren’t thinking proactively

  • People who are coming to you repeatedly with the same questions

  • People who aren’t willing to take a risk and try something

  • People who repeat a pattern with the same roadblock or challenge over and over again

These are the things that tire us out when we are leading and managing.

So, if you’d like to learn more about coaching and coaching as a tool for your management toolbox, send us an email at support@bethwonson.com, and we’ll help you get started on the road to using coaching as an effective, empowering, and easeful tool from your management or leadership toolbox.

Until next time!

- Beth