Superior coaching, which nowadays is still widespread in the Anglo-American area, is the original kind of coaching in the management field.
Features of the coaching by a superior
In the course of a development-related and target-oriented personnel development concept the direct superior frequently guides a group as a coach. This is often the focus of attention in the personnel support and management of executives having just entered the company.Independently thereof, the superior is required to carry out his tasks as a coach against all other employees as well, thus his coaching function is usually not either restricted in time.
As it is usually a job of the direct superior to support if employees are facing problems, the advantage and frequently also the necessity of coaching by executives is considered here. The fundamental prerequisite for a successful management work is the relationship between employees and managers.
Coaching and a successful management become impossible if this relationship between manager and employees is neglected. Based on this fact the superior is shown which responsibility he has for the employees and at the same time it is shown how important it is to build up a well-founded relationship to the employees. This is the cornerstone for the successful executive function.
Coaching by executives is probably refused on principle, but entirely controversially discussed.
(for example Schreyoegg, 1995)
The superior coaching originating from the USA can not absolutely be applied for all cultures. For example, it must be paid attention to the fact that in the German-speaking area there exists another relationship between executive level and employees than in the American area. In Germany, just the statutory basis would not make it possible to further extend the support by the superior into personal matters like it is possible in America.
The kind of the superior coaching is restricted by the kind of arrangement, considering the hierarchy and the thereby connected slope in the relationship. It is usually avoided in principle to make more far-reaching personal problems of the employee the subject of a coaching. It usually deals here with motivation and qualifying the employee for his job. At the end, a control is usually carried out which serves as a feedback. It is questioned whether this work can be considered as an advising job. Due to the hierarchy distribution it is questionable whether an employee can prematurely leave the coaching without this behavior involving any consequences for him. The voluntariness of the participation needed for a coaching is increasingly questionable here.
It must be taken into account that the relationship between superior and employee can experience strain in personal areas because of the consultation. In addition, it is necessary to pay attention to the fact that legal as well as ethical reasons can make consultation impossible in these fields . A successful coaching often does not approve to skip these problems since private difficulties are often acquired together with professional ones. Of course, this applies for the reverse direction as well.
Since it is an essential task of the superior to judge the employee and also to control the employee, it can be difficult to exchange professional problems and to advise. It must be feared that the employee will not talk about professionally related problems with the necessary frankness. Therefore, it should be considered that the relationship between employee and superior can be influenced by that since this form of the coaching can involve an additional control of the employee. However, the form of the superior coaching would be conceivable if the consultation deals with simple professional problems. Here it should be questioned, however, whether this task setting requires a coaching by a superior or if such a subject-related consultation would have to be expected by every.
It often does not become obvious why the superior is supposed to become the coach of his employees. The goal-setting of the coaching often remains unclear as well. In any case, it must be said that the normal target-oriented consultation is not to be considered as a coaching by the superior. The neutrality of the superior in his role as a coach is endangered by his feeling obliged towards both the employee and the enterprise. For this reason, a real and effective coaching might be very difficult. Due to these possible problems superiors will escape from their responsibility as a coach. It would be conceivable as well, that the frame of the coaching directed into such narrow channels from the very beginning already that a really effective and successful consultation can no longer be spoken of. Even if a coaching is successfully carried out by a superior for some time, it must nevertheless be feared that particularly very valuable and talented employees enter a situation of dependency because of the coaching and possibly lose their independence and self-sufficiency.
Summary of criticisms in short
Comparing the essential elements of coaching and management you will find substantial differences.
If voluntariness of participation is given special emphasis in a coaching, it must be assumed regarding the guidance by a superior that power and authority to issue directives against the employee will influence the participation in the coaching.
The foundation of trust where coaching is based upon is conceivable in the management of employees as well and in any case desirable.
While in the coaching the will of the participant is the focus of attention and own, personal objectives are part of the consultation,in personnel management it is mainly dealt with company objectives .