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The Leader as Coach: Using the Process to Increase Productivity and Satisfaction

By Dr. Geri Markel On leader-as-coach

If You’re a Leader You’re a Coach!

Fierce competition, financial constraints, demands for innovation and quality, and an acute sensitivity to consumer needs have forced organizations to expand their capacities to attain breakthrough results.

Those in leadership positions must accomplish more themselves, while ensuring that the people who report to them know how to work with greater efficiency and independence.

Leaders may need to reexamine their own roles and responsibilities in order to improve on-the-job performance and encourage better self-management by the individuals and teams they work with.

Leaders who train and coach on a regular basis can transfer knowledge, increase functional skills, and stimulate the continuous growth of talent and ability within the organization.

A first step for many leaders is to hire an external coach—or to work with internal coaches available through their human resources department—to enhance their own communication skills.

There are a variety of benefits for the leader who opens his or her mind to coaching. For example, coaching can enhance productivity, creativity, and collaboration, as well as lessen stress. One report confirms that by contributing to executive leadership development, external and internal coaches improve organizations’ productivity and profitability.

When leaders become coaches for the individuals and teams they manage, the emphasis is on attainment of goals and greater self-management. As a coach, the leader sets the tone. The leader can discuss the positive results of coaching and can provide executive briefings, seminars, or information about its usefulness.

A leader can use the coaching process to identify new goals and positive action steps. Under such conditions, productive behaviors become the norm rather than the exception. This results in maximized productivity and creativity, with a positive effect on the bottom line.

Want to move toward a positive coaching environment? Consider these questions:

  • To what degree do I have clarity about the goals and issues related to productivity and profitability?
  • To what degree do I practice good listening skills?
  • To what degree do I provide compassionate candor?
  • To what degree do others consider me trustworthy?
  • To what degree do I practice negotiation and conflict resolution with peers or teams?
  • In what ways do I act as a facilitator or catalyst?

The challenge for companies as they seek to maintain their competitive advantage is how to shift from a system focused on competition and top-down management, to one that uses coaching to encourage individual and team initiative within a collaborative framework.

The leader-as-coach process requires that the leader bring a positive attitude and a solid commitment to continuous learning and involvement over the long-term. The benefits include not only greater productivity, but also better retention and job satisfaction for both leaders and their teams.


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