logo image

Press Release

Employee Performance Increases When Managers Coach Direct Reports

Published Tue Sep 15 2020


ATD research finds that organizations that expect managers to coach their direct reports have a strong organizational culture and are more likely to be high-performing companies.

(Alexandria, VA) September 15 2020—Organizations that expect their managers to be coaches see increased employee performance and a stronger organizational culture, according to new research by the Association for Talent Development.


According to survey respondents in _Managers as Coaches: Boosting Employee and Organizational Performance—_which is sponsored by SalesFuel—90 percent of organizations expect at least some of their managers to coach their direct reports and 75 percent expect all of their managers to do so. Organizations that expect their managers to coach all their direct reports are significantly more likely to be high-performing companies.

Coaching uncovers the potential and aspirations of employees, and it helps managers find those employees roles and tasks that match their strengths and personal goals. “When employees are performing jobs that match their strengths, goals, and values, they perform better and are more likely to expend discretionary effort because they are highly engaged in the work,” says Sandi Maxey, senior vice president and manager of learning and professional development at Sandy Spring Bank, who is quoted in the report. “Everyone wins.”

The top barrier to effective coaching was not holding managers accountable for it, cited by 60 percent of respondents. Another barrier to effective coaching was managers not having strong skills in that area (54 percent).

Some other key takeaways from the report include:

  • At 79 percent of organizations, managers received training on at least some key coaching skills (such as providing targeted, actionable feedback and helping coachees develop their own action plans and realistic solutions to problems). Most or all managers used at least some coaching skills with their direct reports (at 82 percent of organizations).

  • The most frequently used delivery method for coaching skills training was instructor-led classroom training, used by 71 percent of organizations. Self-paced e-learning was the second-most popular, used by 47 percent of organizations.

  • More than half of organizations (57 percent) incorporated live classroom simulations and scenario-based learning without technology into their coaching training for managers, and 23 percent incorporated computer-based simulations or scenario-based learning. Both practices had a significant connection to being a high performer.

  • Almost six in 10 organizations (59 percent) evaluated their managers’ effectiveness as coaches. Among those who did, the most common forms of evaluation were assessments by managers’ direct supervisors or senior leaders (37 percent) and direct reports’ performance and growth along business or job results (33 percent).

The report found that many organizations (41 percent) did not evaluate their managers’ effectiveness as coaches, but high performers were significantly more likely to do so. According to Carrie Addington, manager of facilitator development and strategy, ATD Education, evaluation is essential because “data benefits the individual, the team, and the organization,” making it “quite useful for the coaching experience.”


Join a free webcast examining the results of the report on November 5 at 2 pm ET.

About ATD

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is the world’s largest professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees, improve performance, and help to achieve results for the organizations they serve. Established in 1943, the association was previously known as the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD).

ATD’s members come from more than 120 countries and work in public and private organizations in every industry sector. ATD supports talent development professionals who gather locally in volunteer-led U.S. chapters and international member networks and with international strategic partners.

For more information, visit td.org.


You've Reached ATD Member-only Content

Become an ATD member to continue

Already a member?Sign In


Copyright © 2024 ATD

ASTD changed its name to ATD to meet the growing needs of a dynamic, global profession.

Terms of UsePrivacy NoticeCookie Policy