A good manager is both a coach and a counselor. Generally, coaching should precede counseling.
As a coach, a manager:
- identifies an employee’s need for instruction and direction
and this need is usually directly related to his or her performance or career goals. Coaching is collaborative. It relies on mutual, progressive goal-setting, personal feedback, and an ongoing, supportive relationship.
You coach to help retain employees and to show you care about your employees as individuals. It’s best to coach when a new procedure is introduced, a job is changed, and/or a skill gap is identified.
As a counselor, a manager:
- first identifies a problem that interferes with an employee’s work performance and then helps the employee to define specifically what behavior he or she needs to change in order to improve his or her performance or resolve a problem.
So, the difference between coach and counselor is subtle, but important. And, as Sharon Armstrong further shares in her book, “The Essential HR Handbook,” a good manager who is both a coach and a counselor:
- Motivates employees to do good work
- Reinforces good performance
- Encourages employees to stretch
- Sets clear expectations
- Provides positive feedback on an ongoing basis
- Provides constructive feedback on a timely basis
- Acknowledges employees’ progress toward their goals