Why Do Supervisors Need Coaching Skills?

March 1, 2023

Posted by BOLDLY

As mid-level leaders of organisations, supervisors serve a vital role in making sure that their teams are productive, clearly aligned to objectives, and happy. Supervisors need to have strong coaching skills to ensure their staff are equipped to perform and engaged in spending their discretionary effort for the company. Supervisors have a key role in developing their teams’ skills on the job, and coaching is the best method for doing this. These leadership coaching skills allow supervisors to effectively communicate with their teams, better motivate them, and facilitate relationship building for effective collaboration with partners and other teams. In this blog, we'll explore why supervisors need coaching skills, the benefits they can reap from developing their questioning skills, and the different types of coaching skills they should focus on acquiring.

What Are Coaching Skills?

Coaching skills include the ability to ask powerful questions to enable an employee to define their goals and explore viable options for achieving them before putting action plans in place to deliver them. Coaching skills enable supervisors to create a supportive and collaborative environment where all team members can express their ideas and opinions without fear of criticism and where they can feel engaged in their own personal learning journeys.

The skills of a good supervisor using a coaching style include active listening, providing constructive feedback, and facilitating realistic goal-setting with employees. With these tools in hand, supervisors can better understand their teams’ needs and help them achieve success, making their direct reports more self-sufficient for problem-solving and professional development in future.

Why Are Coaching Skills Necessary for Supervisors?

Coaching skills for managers are essential because they allow supervisors to confidently lead their teams and create sustainable skills amongst staff to problem solve and develop their own skills on the job. With these skills, supervisors can foster an environment of trust and positive team dynamics that allow for effective management and collaboration.

However, coaching skills should only be used in certain situations - where a direct report is performing, is motivated, and is ready to experiment with different approaches for performance and growth. It’s essential that a supervisor has coaching skills so that they know when and how to use them - as opposed to delegating or managing.

When leaders use their coaching skills, supervisors can work with their team members in a way that encourages growth and development through brief conversations on-the-job and deeper conversations in 1:1 meetings. In addition, coaching skills help supervisors understand the individual needs of the workforce better, allowing them to design tailored plans for career planning and success. Ultimately, these skills provide supervisors with the tools needed to create highly effective teams that can reach their full potential and subsequently, the organisation too.

What Are the Benefits of Coaching for Supervisors?

Leaders who undertake a coaching skills for supervisors workshop are expected to be able to return to their teams and reap the following benefits:

Purposeful, Enhanced Team Dynamics

Coaching skills help supervisors create an environment of trust, participation and teamwork. The open dialogue of coaching conversations allows leaders to understand the context behind each team member’s complexities and use this knowledge to positively influence their performance and work experience, as well as the whole team.

Greater Understanding of Individual Staff Needs

Coaching allows supervisors to better understand their employees' individual needs and motivations, enabling them to co-create tailored plans for career success for each person. When every team member’s needs are met, and their importance to the whole is highlighted, they become motivated to perform and ultimately improve the company’s overall performance.

employees in a meeting with their supervisor

Increased Staff Performance

By providing constructive feedback, setting realistic goals for employees and creating a supportive work environment, supervisors can help their team members reach their maximum performance potential. Instead of focusing on weaknesses and correcting them, employees will be guided to be the best version of their professional selves through strengths-based coaching techniques.

Enhanced Leadership Capability

Coaching skills give supervisors the ability to guide and motivate their teams, allowing them to lead confidently and enjoy their roles more fully. The more confident a supervisor is, the more their team members will trust them and the more they can deliver results. This breeds mutual respect across a team and gives a platform from which a leader can fulfil their objectives and develop their own satisfaction in the role.

What Skills Do Coaching Supervisors Need?

There are a lot of coaching skills that a leader can develop. Some of the following skills can be developed through workshops and also through 1:1 coaching for the leader themselves:

Active Listening

Active listening is a skill that allows leaders to understand individual needs and motivations, ensuring they provide constructive feedback and direction. Specifically, active listening requires the listener (the supervisor) to pay close attention to the speaker (the employee), including word choice, body language and emotional content, as well as interjecting to ask qualifying questions and providing verbal and non-verbal cues to demonstrate understanding. Active listening involves reflecting on the conversation to make sure that everyone involved has been fully heard.

Goal Setting

Goal setting is a key coaching skill for supervisors. It involves co-creating achievable learning and development objectives and goals for their teams and encouraging performance to achieve those personal results. Goal setting requires supervisors to identify short-term and long-term goals that are attainable and measurable. They also have to ensure that there is an established timeline for reaching each goal, as well as support structures in place to help the team reach their objectives.


Advanced communication is a vital skill for supervisors, as it helps them effectively convey nuanced feedback and diplomatically broach development gaps such that an employee is receptive to development. Specifically, communication requires supervisors to be aware of their body language and tone when communicating with their team. They should also ensure that all parties in the conversation are heard and respected. Additionally, supervisors should strive to create an environment of trust so conversations can flow freely without fear of repercussions.

closeup of a white keyboard where the enter key is replaced with the words leadership coach

Maintaining Personal Motivation

Motivation is an essential skill for supervisors to be able to identify in themselves and maintain because it helps create positive energy and build morale in the workplace for those around them who depend on them to set the tone for their business. Motivation requires supervisors to not only understand their own drivers but also be skilled at recognizing their team's drivers and efforts and reward them with recognition to ensure motivation stays high. Supervisors should also take the time to listen to their employees' problems and provide solutions that benefit both the employee and the organisation. Additionally, they should strive to create an atmosphere of collaboration where everyone has a say in decisions that are being made.


A supervisor must be able to understand their direct reports thinking and see challenges, problems and opportunities from their vantage point, even if they don’t agree with their view! Developing empathy is a key skill, which can certainly be developed by supervisors, but knowing when to empathise and when to move forward with a conversation to help an employee move past an issue is critical. This is a key topic in our workshops for supervisors.

How Are Coaching Skills Developed in Supervisors?

Coaching skills are developed in supervisors through a combination of workshop education, experience on the job, and dedicated personal growth through reflection, feedback, and being on the receiving end of coaching too! Supervisors should take the time to learn about coaching techniques and how they can be used to help their team reach their goals. Additionally, they should invest in professional development opportunities that allow them to practise their leadership and communication skills.

Finally, supervisors should strive to develop an understanding of themselves so that they can more effectively empathise with their team and foster an environment of collaboration and mutual respect.

Find a Coaching Workshop For Supervisors Today

Great leaders are not born. They are created. If you wish to train your supervisors in this critical skill, start with our BOLDLY coaching skills for supervisors programme or reach out to connect@boldly.app.