You are currently viewing Stuck In the Middle? How Coaching Benefits Managers at Every Level

Stuck In the Middle? How Coaching Benefits Managers at Every Level

From managing new hybrid or remote work environments to navigating frustrating supply chain disruptions, today’s leaders face unparalleled challenges. These issues are driving many senior executives to leave their positions in droves[1] in addition to half of workers overall who have recently changed their career path. Despite the turbulence, businesses have been short-sighted about the important role that skills development plays in addressing these crises.[2]

Corporate middle managers, who are responsible for juggling multiple projects and overseeing teams, are left out of critical coaching opportunities that could help prepare them to better manage, train, and retain staff members. Not surprisingly, many workers who plan to leave their jobs within the next six months say that their line managers have not been helpful in moving their careers forward.[3] 

The directive is clear: Organizations that invest in coaching managers at every level will build a stronger talent pipeline that can withstand today’s challenges. Here are three reasons why coaching leaders at every level makes a difference.

Help leaders at all levels acquire skills and confidence

Often, middle managers are stuck in a limbo where they are no longer entry-level employees but aren’t yet senior leaders. Much of this links back to a lack of time and opportunities, as many organizations are focused on training leaders of lower-level managers who are who are earlier in their careers, have much to learn, or haven’t developed years’ worth of poor management habits.[4]

Ultimately, providing coaching can make a major difference to employee retention, as three in four workers (74%) who plan to stay with their firms for longer than two years are those who have undergone career development training.[5]

Southwest Airlines offers a “Next Level Leadership” training program that enables middle managers to meet monthly over the course of three months to develop strategic thinking, talent management, and change management skills. One popular aspect of this training program is that a senior leader always attends the sessions to discuss company initiatives.

“Middle managers don’t always get to see the big picture,” says Bonnie Endicott, Director of People at Southwest. “[The program] helps them to better understand how their projects fit into the company as a whole and translate strategic initiatives for their teams.”[6] She notes that it also gives employees critical experiences before they are promoted to more senior roles.

Support career development for team members

While administering day-to-day operations and monitoring performance, middle managers also play a key role in onboarding entry-level workers and training them to do their jobs more effectively. But inexperienced managers can struggle with addressing critical team issues that arise daily, from co-worker conflicts to skills deficiencies. One-on-one coaching delivered by experts and backed up by senior leaders can help middle managers strengthen their problem-solving skills. In fact, 89% of workers who have received this specific coaching say that it has improved their job satisfaction and contentedness at work.[7]

CaseWare International, an accounting and auditing software company based in Toronto, follows this path by dedicating time to providing both in-person and on-demand leadership training in the form of two-hour communication workshops. More than half of CaseWare’s mid-level managers, including both new and long-time employees, attend these workshops. Since offering these coaching sessions, these managers have felt more empowered to deal with the personal issues that arise with their team members on a daily basis.[8]

Boost organizational performance

If there’s one thing that’s become clear over the past couple of years, it’s that many workers are unhappy in their roles, especially middle managers. They report being less satisfied in their jobs than senior executives and struggle more when it comes to maintaining a sense of belonging and productivity.[9] 

The Great Resignation, the boiling point of that frustration, has been experienced by companies around the globe. This mass workforce exodus is a sign that there has never been a more crucial time for organizations to become more people-centric, from the onboarding of new employees to leadership coaching for current managers.

“Organizational leaders need to completely rethink the best ways to onboard and engage employees today,” says Syneathia LaGrant, VP of Global Learning and Development for ManpowerGroup. “We have to ask ourselves, how are we providing resources and support for all employees to feel whole at a time when the world feels upside down?”

“It’s time to invest in coaching beyond the executive leadership level,” she adds. Whether through traditional in-person workshops or virtual on-demand formats that fit every schedule, these are smart options that will benefit individual employees and enhance the performance of the entire organization.

To learn more about how to incorporate coaching at all levels of your organization, please give us a call at 1-800-249-0295.


[2] Right Management Employee Data 2021/Uncharted Territory Report, ManpowerGroup 2021

[3] Right Management Employee Data 2021/Uncharted Territory Report, ManpowerGroup 2021


[5] Right Management Employee Data 2021/ Uncharted Territory Report, ManpowerGroup 2021


[7] Right Management Employee Data, 2021