Building great managers through coaching

The very name ‘manager’ implies a certain behaviour. Top-down. Telling people what to do. Setting the objectives. Managing that they completed their tasks. Pulling them up if they failed to make the grade. 

The etymology of ‘manager’ goes back over 400 years, derived from the Italian ‘maneggiare’, meaning “to handle” or “to train (horses)”, from the Latin manus (hand). 

These days we generally don’t like to think of those we are responsible for as horses, so we need to put down the reins and the riding crop, and use a different set of skills to enable our teams to be at their best. The trouble is, bad management is endemic in organisations and that’s often easier said than done. 

Research by Gallup reveals that only one in ten people possess the talent to manage. And another two in ten display basic managerial talent that can be developed if their employer invests in developing and coaching. And 82% of the time, companies miss the mark on high managerial talent in their hiring decisions. 

Reasons for poor management can be poor selection or training, adherence to outdated management practices, an overfocus on performance outcomes above all else, or simply poor management of the managers. 

We subscribe to Gallup’s perspective that modern management is exemplified by highly self-aware managers who are mindful of their own strengths and those of their team members and colleagues, who are focused on creating a culture of high employee engagement and who are clear and focused on individual and team performance outcomes. The most effective managers have coaching skills and experience and know when and how to deploy a coaching style rather than a more traditional boss style of leadership. 

Coaching managers is effective because the coaching process drives ownership and accountability in the individual. Our unique digital coach Kultra contains self-coaching modules on a broad range of skills and capabilities for managers, from soft skills like active or empathic listening to more practical capabilities like planning and delegating. More recently we have introduced new content modules on Inclusive Behaviors like ‘Recognising your Biases’ and ‘Role-Modelling’. Individual users can choose to follow the development path most suited to their individual needs and personal development goals. 

The most effective form of coaching is the personal one-to-one session with a human coach who can reflect in the moment to provide support and challenge. However to provide a human coach to everyone with managerial responsibilities is cost-prohibitive for most organisations. We designed Kultra to offer a coaching-like experience with deep self-reflection and regular habit-forming practice of new skills and techniques. Because there is no human in the journey, the cost is a small fraction of human coaching and can easily and swiftly be deployed to your whole manager and supervisor pool. It can also be deployed alongside a programme of human coaching within an organisation. 

To find out more about our pioneering CoachTech app Kultra and the Good to Great Managers and Inclusive Behaviours programmes, please get in touch with us: