Coaching Upwards ~ Leader as Coach: When to use a Coach Approach


Using a coach approach can help us to manage our boss as well as our employees, Coaching Upwards.  Each time I have had a new boss, I have sat down with them in the first couple of weeks to talk to them about my needs of them.  I usually start the conversation by saying something like:

“I’d like to talk to you about how you can get the best performance out of me in service of our team’s goals”

It usually takes them aback, as they are not used to people being so assertive about their needs.  But once they realise how useful the information is, they settle in for a great conversation about what makes you both tick, and how you can get the best out of each other.

Coaching Upwards is like setting ground-rules.

It means that you have something to refer back to if something isn’t working for you further down the line.

In a coaching conversation this week, one of my clients noticed how he wanted to tell his new boss about his boundaries around work, particularly given the imminent arrival of a new baby at home.  We discussed how he could manage upwards by sharing his needs with his new boss in a way that set his ground-rules and also asked for his boss’ ground-rules.  Win/win, and a great way to start a new relationship.

More opportunity for Coaching Upwards

The other time when using a coach approach can be useful with your boss is when they delegate something new to you and you already feel overloaded.  Don’t whine about it behind their back – have an adult conversation where you lay out all that you have on your plate and ask where this new piece of work fits in terms of priorities.  What needs to wait if this new task is more important or urgent?

Here are a couple of earlier blogs in this series..

Leaving an Organisation ~ Leader as Coach: When to use a Coach Approach

Performance Management ~ Leader as Coach: When to use a Coach Approach