By Elizabeth Eyre and the Mind Tools Team
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Informal Coaching for Managers

Knowing When to Be a Coach

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JohnFScott

Use informal coaching to react quickly to situations and issues.

Coaching should be something that all managers do with their teams. It helps you understand how people think about their work, their careers, and their relationships with the organization. It can also help you to improve a person's performance, and deal with any issues before these become major problems.

Many managers use formal coaching as a way of guiding people through change, briefing them on organizational developments, carrying out performance appraisals, and so on. However, sometimes you need to react quickly to situations and issues, and that's where you can adopt a more informal approach to coaching.

But how can you recognize these situations? And, when is it best to "coach," rather than "manage," someone? Getting these decisions wrong and missing those vital coaching opportunities can make a huge difference to the effectiveness of your team. You may also hurt the good relationships you've developed with team members.

If you follow the guidance below, you'll be better at identifying potential coaching opportunities. Then, with practice, informal coaching will become an instinctive skill.

Using Informal Coaching As Part of Your Management Approach

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