Merge's Blog

Why do managers have a tendency to do rather than coach?

When an employee comes to you with a problem, what is your most likely reaction? Are you a doer – someone who jumps in and solve the problem – or are you a facilitator – someone who helps the employee get to the bottom of it on his/her own? Most managers and supervisors I talk to readily admit that they even though they know the better answer is the latter (i.e. being a coach and facilitator), they still tend to step in and take over quite quickly. So why is that? Why the tendency to take over and run the show? I think that it’s always one or more of three possible reasons:

  1. Time. You’re busy. It’s often simply quicker to give the answer, check it off the mental list, and send the employee on his/her way. Coaching takes time, and the truth is, it’s often in short supply
  2. You know the answer. You’ve likely been around longer and you might even have come up from the ranks doing exactly this same job. The answer is a no-brainer so why not just spill the beans!
  3. You’re good at taking action. Your track record in making decisions and getting things done is why you now have the big title and the even bigger salary. If it worked for you before, it should work for you now, right?

So what do you think? Why the tendency to “do” rather than to “coach”? Add your thoughts in the Comments section below. Or perhaps you’ve overcome this inclination to take over. In which case, please share, I think many of us would value the tips.

3 thoughts on “Why do managers have a tendency to do rather than coach?

  1. Great question and you’ve hit the top three answers – perhaps to add to the last one, you like the rush of taking something off the list as “done.” Trick is refashioning delegation to give you the same feeling.

  2. Good point Rell. You remind me of something that I am often guilty of — I go to “check” something off the to do list, and when I find that I never wrote it down in the first place, I write it in, just so I can check it off! LOL, yes silly I know, but it’s because there IS a sense of satisfaction in getting things done. It makes me think that perhaps I may be more prone to falling prey to reason #3. Definitely food for thought!

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