Managers as Coaches Organizational


In healthcare, high turnover among frontline staff challenges the ability to deliver high quality care. When it comes to turnover, it’s often said that “people don’t leave their job, they leave their supervisor.” Adopting a coaching style of leadership and supervision is one strategy high performing organizations use to improve retention rates. A coaching style emphasizes supporting team members to gain new skills and advance their careers. As a people-centered management strategy, coaching increases employee satisfaction and retention and improves quality of care.


Supervisors and managers play a pivotal role in the career development of incumbent workers. For example, they mentor staff to grow their skills and identify career paths, recommend employees for training programs, and support flexible scheduling to accommodate learning. Successful implementation of coaching throughout an organization requires a shift in the culture. However, when a relational model of leadership and management is fully embraced at all levels, it is truly transformative.

Here are key steps to implement a coaching style:

  • Train leaders and supervisors in core coaching skills such as active listening, self-awareness and self-management, and communicating without judgment or blame.
  • Model coaching skills at the very top of the organization. This sets the tone for supervisors at all levels.
  • Fully integrate this training into all processes, for example, new hire orientation and supervisory training programs.
  • Reinforce skills with regular and ongoing reminders and boosters.
  • Redesign the performance review and disciplinary processes to incorporate the coaching style


How to Adopt a Coaching Mentality and Practice, Madeline Mcneely & Michelle Ehrenreich, Harvard University, 2019.

A blog with tips on how to develop a coaching leadership style.

Coaching in a Business Environment, SHRM.

An article that provides an overview of coaching in a business environment. It discusses the value of coaching and describes some of the practical techniques and tools used in the practice.

PHI Coaching Approach® – PHI National.

A training curriculum to help shift organizational norms and embed coaching skills throughout long-term healthcare organizations.

CareerSTAT Guide to Investing in Frontline Workers: Employer Best Practices for Making Effective Investments in Frontline Workers, National Fund for Workforce Solutions

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