The Difference Between Micromanaging and Developmental Coaching

The intention behind the coaching is what distinguishes micro-managing from developmental coaching.

The intention of micro-managing is often driven either by an intention to catch an employee doing something wrong or discredit them and then be able to provide negative feedback, or to solidify a manager’s role, value (at least in their own eyes) and importance to a team or project.  The subconscious intent of micro-managing is punitive!  That’s a very important distinction.

Developmental coaching is entirely different because it’s collaborative and designed to give an employee more competence and confidence.  In short, developmental coaching is designed to build employees up!  Developmental coaching starts with an invitation to an employee which could sound like this, “I noticed how you were processing the ABC forms and I’d like to offer you a couple ideas that might save time and make your life a little easier, are you open to coaching?  Now let’s be clear, as a manager, you could also say “I noticed how you were processing the ABC forms and I’d like you to do them this way instead.”  The latter communication is very direct, which is not necessarily a problem depending on the tone of the communication.  But, it’s certainly not collaborative in nature.  In addition to strengthening an employee’s skills and knowledge, developmental coaching provides an opportunity to build and deepen your relationship with your employees which creates more trust and commitment.  All of which is positive.  The only possible downside is that developmental coaching requires a bit more time than a more direct approach of telling an employee how to correctly do something.  But the added time is well worth the investment.