Retention through coaching: Turn managers into coaches to create opportunities for employee impact

June 14, 2023

Remember the days when a manager’s job was to dish out performance reviews, observe team dynamics, and call the shots? Today, employees expect much more from their managers: they want to be meaningfully engaged. This is where coaching comes in, providing managers with a set of skills they can use to empower and engage their employees. By focusing on development, coaching is about sustained growth and contributes to retention.

Pando’s Head of Sales, Misha Bartlett, was recently joined by two dynamic women―Ashley Pelliccione, Director of Talent at Bobbie, and Rachel Lockett, Talent Partner at Stripe―to discuss the topic of coaching for retention. Here are some fantastic insights we learned from experts in the field.

Turn managers into coaches

Power up management’s role in employee engagement by training managers on how to coach their teams. This helps build an environment of continuous learning and improvement. Coaching helps managers look for what’s working for employees and build on it, making it a strengths-based approach. 

Coaching offers employees more ownership over their development. With coaching, employees have a chance to own their successes and mistakes. 

But what is coaching? According to Rachel Locket, Talent Partner at Stripe, coaching is really about “helping someone unlock their inner resources, their strengths and skills and their support network to help them maximize their potential. So rather than thinking you have the answer, and you're guiding someone to the right outcome, you're helping them recognize what inner resources and context and support they can leverage to really reach a better outcome and identify their goal.”

Coaching enables managers to be more connected to their team. This connection helps to cultivate an environment of trust, which can help to increase employee engagement and loyalty, leading to higher retention rates. For Ashley Pelliccione, Bobbi’es Head of Talent, coaching “taps into the possibility of leaders … as this incredible tool to continue to get curious.”

As managers understand their employees better through coaching, they can lead teams to reach their full potential. All of this supports retention. By focusing on development and creating a culture of trust, managers can turn work into a rewarding, impactful experience for everyone. Ashley believes that “the core of coaching is getting curious and asking the right questions.”The role of a manager is an important one, and it is their responsibility to coach, mentor, and provide guidance to their employees. 

For Rachel Lockett, Talent Partner at Stripe, managers can be “so focused on what they're doing they lose track of who they're being. And so coaching is actually a moment and a spaciousness to take a step back and be intentional that you're moving in the right direction, that you're showing up the way you want to lead…that whole concept of managing versus coaching and choosing when to do both.”

But let’s take a step back - how can managers get the best results out of coaching an employee? They need a strong initial foundation of trust. 

Develop strong manager-employee relationships to get the most out of coaching

To get the most out of coaching and create opportunities for employee impact, managers should focus on developing strong relationships with their employees and fostering open communication. Through these connections, managers can get to know their employees on a deeper level, understanding what motivates them. Building trusting relationships creates an environment where employees can feel safe asking questions and exploring ideas without judgment. In turn, managers can unearth new ways for employees to make an impact.

For the coaching program at Bobbie, Ashley described their goals as developing “trust, partnership, confidence, authenticity.” But how can leaders build this type of trust? At Bobbie, the organizational culture promotes practicing humility and embracing unknowns, seeing the workforce as a culture of learners. For Ashley, “Our managers and our leaders are multipliers of culture. They are impacting the employee experience every single day in every single touchpoint that they do.” And so, having leaders practice that humility and learning culture helps build trust in the team to do the same.

For Misha Bartlett, Head of Sales at Pando, leaders can build trust by personifying these modalities for their teams, that of trainer, coach, or manager. Managers can use the best tool(s) for the scenario. A conversation may begin as a coaching conversation and then move to training or managing. But coaching is a foundation for building trust within the team to begin to have these types of conversations.

Coaching skills are not just for managers, though. These skills can be learned by any team member.

Coaching is a life skill for everyone

For these panelists, coaching is both about what you do and who you are. Meaning, it’s a life skill that any employee can learn, not a skill just for managers. Ashley Pelliccione, Bobbie’s Head of Talent, believes that coaching is “connecting people to possibilities at work, at home, in yourself, with others, pretty much everywhere in the world and how you show up…coaching is expansive.”

Coaching has its own subset of skills for success: it requires active listening, curiosity, and powerful questions. It takes effort to avoid jumping in to give answers and to truly give space.

Training employees and managers to coach helps them “gain clarity about their strengths and their potential as a leader,” as well as apply vulnerability and boost their innate capacity to lead (Ashley Pelliccione). Being trained to coach can be an effective overall leadership development tool.

So, what are the takeaways? Coaching helps managers understand their employees better, and when employees feel understood, valued, and supported, they are more likely to stay.  Empowering employees through coaching is a powerful tool, so get curious, practice active listening, and ask meaningful questions! 

Contact us to learn more about how our platform can be leveraged as a powerful coaching tool!