Many managers find themselves micromanaging their teams, despite being past high performers themselves. Transitioning from being a high performer to a ‘coaching leader’ requires a shift in mindset and approach, one that isn’t immediately obvious.

In this article, I’ll share 10 insights on how to break free from micromanagement and adopt a coaching approach to unlock your leadership superpower and your team’s full potential.

1 – Shift from High Performer to Coaching Leader.

The transition from a high-performing individual contributor to a successful leader involves recognising the distinction between personal success and enabling the success of others. Coaching is about understanding how each team member can tap into their motivation and high performance, even if it differs from your own. Your awareness and appreciation of these differences is the enabler for change and your transformation to a coaching leader.

2 – Understanding the Impact on Team Performance.

Micromanagement tends to make teams task-focused, stifling their creativity, innovation, and commitment. Conversely, coaching empowers individuals to think beyond their daily tasks and connect their work to a greater purpose. It promotes higher performance, personal development, continual improvement, and a sense of ownership among team members. Knowing you have the potential to unlock this in your team members is a duty of all Leaders. As Harvey. S. Firestone said “The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.”

3 – Breaking Dependency.

Micromanagement creates a cycle of dependence, where team members rely on the manager for direction and accountability. Shifting to a coaching approach transfers responsibility for decision making and delivery from the manager, to the team member. It enables individuals to set their own goals, find motivation, and become responsible to update the coaching leader on their progress, rather than expect to be managed.

4 – Fostering Development and Growth.

A coaching approach inherently focuses on employee development and growth. The coach model, for example, encourages setting future goals and discussing performance and potential. Underpinned by ongoing, regular discussions about performance and potential. By actively engaging in coaching conversations, leaders can support their team members in leveraging their strengths and achieving their potential.

5 – Principles and Skills of Effective Coaching.

Employing a structured coaching approach is vital. The ‘COACH’ model, for example, encourages the agreement of the following stages: Contracting for standards & Values, Setting clear Objectives & Goals, Observing your team take Action, utilising Coaching as a performance accelerator and setting Heroic future goals. It’s important to create space for coaching conversations to give and receive feedback. Developing coaching skills such as active listening, powerful questioning, empathy, support and challenge is crucial for successful coaching.

6 – Building Trust and a Supportive Environment.

Trust and a supportive coaching environment start with the leader. Investing time in building an emotional bank account with team members fosters trust (see the previous article on the Emotional Bank Account). Additionally, leaders can create a supportive environment by encouraging team members to share ideas, implement changes collectively, and take responsibility for their own growth.

7 – Improving Employee Engagement and Job Satisfaction.

Coaching shifts responsibility and autonomy to team members, resulting in increased engagement and job satisfaction. With clarity of expectations and a greater sense of ownership, team members feel empowered to deliver more meaningful contributions. Leaders, in turn, experience satisfaction by witnessing their team members thrive independently. Interestingly accordingly to the Gallup ‘Q12’ employee engagement research the number 1 indicator of engagement for team members is ‘being clear on what is expected of me at work’ *.

8 – Challenges and Overcoming Them.

Transitioning from micromanagement to a coaching approach requires breaking the habit of control and building trust in your team’s capabilities. It can be challenging to let go of the short-term rewards of micromanagement, but becoming aware of the need for change is the first step. Deliberate coaching conversations, focusing on team motivations and responsibilities, help overcome these challenges.

9 – Contribution to High-Performance Teams and Organisational Success.

Coaching plays a vital role in the long-term success of an organisation. It fosters individual growth, strengthens performance, and encourages team members to consider their future potential. By investing in coaching, organisations develop a pipeline of talent, succession plans, and a culture of continual growth and improvement.

10 – Take Action, Start Coaching.

Embrace the shift from micromanagement to coaching leadership to unlock your team’s full potential. Commit to developing your coaching skills, building trust, and fostering a supportive environment one conversation at a time. Use every conversation as an opportunity to practice coaching and develop your skills. By doing so, you’ll create a high-performance team that drives organizational success and cultivates a culture of growth and development.

If you’d like to learn more about the COACH model and how you can become a Coaching Leader, check out the latest book from the author of this article Justin Leigh, ‘Coaching Leaders – Unlock your Leadership Superpower.’ You can pick up your copy on Amazon here:

Coaching Leaders

If you’re interested in becoming a coaching leader, explore the resources offered by Focus4Growth and reach out to Justin for further guidance and join one of the Focus4growth Coaching Leaders Academies. The next 12 month Coaching Leaders Academy starts in October 2023, contact Justin if you’d like to be considered for it.

You can learn more about developing your Coaching Leadership skills in the newly launched book  ‘Coaching Leaders’, but Justin Leigh. If you prefer a more hands on approach to learning, you can enrol on the Coaching Leaders Academy course. The next 12 month Coaching Leaders Academy starts in October 2023, contact Justin if you’d like to be considered for it, find more details here:


If you’d like to contact Justin directly his email is [email protected].

You can connect with Justin and access some of the Focus4growth resources here:

*The Gallup research article is here:


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