September 02, 2021

Good Leaders vs. Good Coaches: What’s the difference?

Sam Caucci

Do you want to inspire your employees or do you want to instruct them? That’s the difference between being a coach and being a leader.

When you coach rather than lead, you give your team more intrinsic motivation, meaning you inspire self-motivation and a newfound willingness to try new things. And, when workers find greater intrinsic motivation in what they do, they are 30% more committed to their work and 46% more satisfied with their jobs. 

Many leadership styles fail to recognize the difference between a leader who coaches and one who simply gives orders. However, their distinction is much greater than you might expect it to be and it can make a huge, measurable difference when it comes to company culture, overall success, growth, innovation and your bottom line. 

What is the Difference Between Coaching vs. Managing Your Employees?

Although similar there is a difference between being a great coach and being a great manager. The biggest difference comes from the focus of the leader. In managing an employee, the focus is on giving directives. For example, this is what needs to be done, this is how you do it and here is the deadline. 

One of the issues with this approach is that workers come to rely heavily on being given direction and asking the expert rather than think for themselves. This can cause leaders and managers to become frustrated and overwhelmed due to the fact that they must give guidance on every little thing. This results in an environment rife with micromanagement tendencies, since workers feel like they can’t make a move without approval. 

On the other hand, coaching has a focus on collaboration and empowerment. Instead of directing, managers guide team members to realizing their own resourcefulness, potential and insight. And unlike employee training programs where the agenda is set by the trainer onto the trainee, coaching focuses on each individual team member. 

Instead of giving orders on how processes and procedures should occur or what tasks need to be completed, the coach will ask the employee to self-direct towards what might be missing. The idea behind this is to allow workers to problem solve on their own rather than being told, criticized or critiqued in any particular direction. 

A coach’s main focus is to give insight and influence behavioral changes. Insight allows workers to identify problems and work on solutions on their own. This is the approach you should take if you want to be an inspiration to your team. 

How to Become a Better Coach

A great leader understands that they will need to maximize the potential of each and every one of their team members in order for their organization to have long-term success. An effective coach is focused on positive transformation and change and knows how to guide employees toward self-improvement. 

Here are a few ways that you can become a better coach to your team so you can help them easily discover new insights and change limiting behaviors that might be holding them back from reaching their true potential. 

Be a Better Listener

Employees who feel heard are more likely to feel empowered to do their best at their jobs, according to a survey in Forbes. At least half of every conversation should be listening, that is unless you are a manager that is doling out instructions. 

Listening is one of those leadership skills that many people forget about cultivating. Effective coaches know how to listen at a deep level. Listening to others’ opinions will help you shape your own and help impact the effectiveness of your entire company. 

Help Your Team Achieve their Goals

An effective leader and coach takes an interest in their team member’s long-term goals and aspirations, and takes measures to help them reach their goals. No leader wants to have a team that suffers from turnover every couple of months. A solid team is made from dependability and growth. 

If you are the type of leader who helps forge a path of growth for your workers, then you ensure long-term retention rates. And, by facilitating growth you ensure that development is centered on ways your employees can grow within the company instead of pushing that growth outside of it. 

This results in an environment where team members are committed to the success of the company instead of focusing efforts on looking for opportunities elsewhere. 

Give Praise in Public, and Coach in Private

Contrary to the popular belief, salary is not the sole reason that fuels every employment decision. One huge reason that employees choose to leave a company is that they feel underappreciated by their manager. 

When a team member goes the extra mile, be sure that you notice it in a way that everyone can see. Not only will this be a great example for your team to follow, but it will also help strengthen your relationship and trust with your team and inspire them to keep doing their best. 

However, when it’s time to discuss things that need improvement with an employee, it’s best to do so in private, especially if the reason they are struggling is due to a personal reason. These issues should be phrased in a way that makes room for improvement or problem solving together instead of placing the blame on an individual. 

Make Coaching Easy with 1Huddle

At 1Huddle, we offer cloud-based employee gamification software that can easily adapt to any employee training or coaching strategy you want to implement at your workplace. You can customize your content for a seamless experience and all of your employees will be able to access their training anywhere, anytime and at the push of a button. You can use our gamification platform to measure their performance and make key decisions on where you should take your gamification strategy next. 

Do you want to learn more about how 1Huddle can help you level up your own workforce? Talk to us today.

Sam Caucci, Founder & CEO at 1Huddle

See Our Policy Plan

Check out our plan that outlines a position that we at 1Huddle fight for everyday; for every worker. 


RAISE Every Worker