THE skill which defines the best Manager: Coaching

I have good news and bad news.  First the good news.  I’ve just read about an internal study carried out by Google in which they made 10,00 observations of their best Managers. Given their skills in analytics and designing algorithms, their conclusions might be worth paying attention to.

168 Management Attributes. Does that include Dress Sense?

(Oh, and did you know that that according to a recent survey there are no less than 168 different dimensions to explain manager performance.  No wonder they are all so stressed out!)

What do you think is the one skill which their study concluded defines the best of the best managers?  According to Google, it is COACHING.  I am delighted to read this and a little surprised, as I would have thought there would be more obvious benefits to be had from a manager who knows how to set and manage well formed objectives.  But what do I know?

The bad news is a concept I hadn’t come across until this week of “commercial coaching“.  My heart sank a little when I read this.  It’s a new approach to coaching that focuses on the future and encourages the coach to “tell” as well as “ask”.  Apparently this approach delivered a 29% performance improvement at a mobile phone retailer.  Watch this space.

So that’s it. We’re all doomed.  Ignore everything people like me have written about Coaching, and allow yourself as a coach to provide answers for others and tell them how they should be going about things.  It’s a perfect excuse for the Directive style of Manager (of which I come across all too many) to do what they do best.  Use their own experience to   influence the way others do it.  “My way or the highway.”  Forget allowing the possibility of new thinking, creative solutions, youthful energy.  “Let me show you how it’s done, lad.”

I’m only joking, of course.  I’m intrigued at the idea, and would like to know more.

It’s an excuse for me to insert another of my ‘How not to’ videos, again on Coaching.  This one is I think a great example of Commercial Coaching, as the coach (yours truly)  does most of the talking.  Perhaps this is exactly what you are supposed to do with this new approach, in which case maybe I was ahead of my time!  Makes a change, for someone who has spent most of his life at the trailing edge of innovation.  You judge for yourself……

If you have heard of Commercial Coaching or experienced it (from either side if the table), please share you thoughts with a comment below.


About Michael Brown Training

I'm a business skills trainer, facilitator and coach. I've been helping people to learn for 16 years, working all around the world on topics such as Negotiation, Conflict Handling, Sales, Leadership, Consulting and Personal Effectiveness. I'm an ENFP, constantly looking for new and inspiring things to do. I love my job for its variety and the stimulation I get from it, and spend most of my time seeing how far we can go with the subjects we work on in the training room. I've recently started a new venture in making video on how NOT to do things, which you can find at
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5 Responses to THE skill which defines the best Manager: Coaching

  1. Spencer says:

    good grief, Google could have saved a lot of what must only be surplus analytical time by reading 2 books and maybe consulting a novice coach for, say, 20 minutes.

    Books (which I’m sure they’re aware of) and one of your favourites Mike (that helps them work out the combination of conscious / data driven decision making and intuitive / gut feeling type information),_Fast_and_Slow

    Having read and enjoyed “in the Plex” this latest epiphany seems somewhat lame and don’t I recall the now tried and tested “situational leadership” model places coaching high on both “supportive and directive” axes…so it’s not much of a breakthrough to suggest that coaching, differentiated from counselling, often needs a bit of both?


  2. Katie slater says:

    Oh dear, I agree mike, it will only provide a great excuse for the ‘natural’ directive style manager to think they are competent in their role. It is important to look to the future and set performance targets, but these must come from the employee so he takes full ownership, otherwise if he is told how it will be, the employee will not have total buy in or understand clearly how he will achieve his objectives. I must read this google report!


  3. annabfg says:

    Michael – where did you read about this Google study? I’d be interested to read it. Thanks.


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