Coaching as a Managerial Tool

Wes Martin, Manager of Leadership Development Services, Strata Leadership shares his coaching knowledge in this fascinating Q&A about coaching tools. Read the article.

Wes Martin is the Manager of Leadership Development Services at Strata Leadership. He was kind enough to take the time to speak to us at to share his industry tips in order to help you discover how coaching methods can revitalize your team and your workplace.  At the company, Martin himself performs the role of an Executive Coach and Leadership Trainer while also overseeing a team of coaches, trainers, and consultants. This experience has given him a rich and in-depth knowledge of coaching and working relationships. His experience is further reinforced by his educational background which includes a B.S. in Multidisciplinary Studies and a Masters degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

Can you talk us through how you approach coaching at Strata Leadership?

WM:  At Strata Leadership, we discuss coaching as a tool in the managerial toolbox. As such, it isn't the right approach for all situations. In the same way that a hammer and a wrench serve specific purposes for a handyperson, coaching and other management forms serve different purposes for managers.

When should a leader act as a coach and when should they act as a manager?

WM:  A good rule of thumb in selecting which approach to take is to adopt a coaching approach when the situation is important but not urgent or when the employee holds most of the responsibility for the success of the task or challenge. However, in situations where regulations necessitate that there is a right way of solving a problem, when a decision needs to be made quickly, or the employee is not privy to information that is needed to make the best decision, then the manager or leader should choose a leadership approach that is more direct and less collaborative.

For busy managers, how can they find the time in their schedule for these extra responsibilities?

WM: Because we like to approach coaching as a managerial tool, we don't believe that coaching your employees always needs to be structured. While dedicated times for coaching are helpful, the power of a coaching approach is often greatest in impromptu coaching conversations, such as instances in which an employee drops in your office or Zoom room to seek advice.

Should a manager adopt a different mindset when they are coaching?

WM: Absolutely. The shift from a tell-and-direct to an ask-and-inquire approach of leading requires a shift in the manager's self-concept. Thus, in adopting a coaching approach, managers must believe that their effectiveness is based on the team's success above and beyond individual success. This shift is critical and can be supported by an organization that rewards leaders for team, rather than individual, performance.

Additionally, organizations can support managers in adopting a coaching approach through experiential learning that enhances self-efficacy, such as the learning that occurs at the Strata Workplace Coaching Clinic.

Have Martin’s tips made you rethink your ideas about coaching? Do you want even more professional insights? Then consider how you can introduce coaching into your workspace for maximum benefits!

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About the Author 

As the Manager of Leadership Development Services for Strata Leadership, Wes Martin is driven by the belief that behind every team is a leader or who is committed to empowering others. He has many years of experience in managing, leadership, and coaching, as well as higher education.

Martin is committed to seeking opportunities to support, celebrate and advocate for leaders at all levels, and in all walks of life.