Middle managers are quite literally the middle ground between employers and employees. Managers at this level of an organization are often tasked to coordinate inter-departmental work, monitor employee performance, and answer to those in the C-suite. Serving as a buffer between top-level leadership and everyone else in the company, it’s no wonder that middle managers are at a higher risk of burnout than any other worker group. In fact, 43% of middle managers surveyed said they are experiencing burnout due to chronic workplace stress. Middle managers also scored low in work-life balance and reported the highest stress and anxiety levels.
To help alleviate these feelings of stress and burnout among an unending list of duties as middle managers, some middle managers look to executive coaching to improve their balancing skills as leaders. Executive coaching is an instructor-led learning and development program meant for upskilling employees. While typically reserved for senior professions in the C-suite, executive coaching can still impact middle management. In this article, we’ll discuss four reasons middle managers need executive coaching:
Enhance talent pipeline for C-level roles
The most common and primary reason for executive coaching is to use the expertise and wisdom learned to improve an employee’s leadership and management skills. In the case of middle managers, executive coaching can equip them with the skills and traits needed to make it to the C-suite. Some of the frequently cited benefits of executive coaching include improved performance and job satisfaction. Executive coaching for middle managers can help them identify leadership possibilities that they can then nurture effectively. This is especially important to fill the talent gap in the C-suite as chief executives in top positions prepare for turnover. Middle managers who go through executive coaching are not only trained for leadership but are also already familiar with the organization they work in, making them better suited for senior leadership when the time comes.
Improve organizational performance
Middle managers are constantly working with the top and the bottom of an organization. Sometimes, they may struggle to manage difficult behaviors from their employees while balancing the needs of the C-level executives. Executive coaching features role-specific leadership development based on human connections to help proper leaders, businesses, and middle managers to succeed. Most executive coaches are former C-suite executives who are more than willing to share their experience and expertise to help future leaders increase self-awareness and create change. Executive coaching can also help middle managers improve their emotional and social development, boosting work engagement and career satisfaction. Because middle management is an almost all-around position in an organization, better performance from middle managers will also positively impact company performance.
Retain top talent
We’ve mentioned middle managers and their risk for burnout in the workplace. Executive coaching can help them manage their concerns and issues at work, reducing feelings of dissatisfaction with their role and career direction. Working with an executive coach can help middle managers see the bigger picture of their contributions to an organization. As much as it’s about leadership and management training, executive coaching is also a holistic process that aims to maximize one’s potential. For middle managers who may feel stuck where they are, executive coaching can help them ask the necessary questions to challenge their beliefs about work and guide them to the next step in their careers.
Strengthen gender equality in the workplace
Lastly, as mentioned above, the middle manager has an all-around presence in the organization due to their many duties. Working closely with employees to monitor and manage their progress, middle management is key to fostering an inclusive work culture, reducing bias, and mitigating discrimination in the workplace. Executive coaching can help middle managers realize their role in advancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace, like championing or recommending underrepresented employees or preventing bias in the interview process for new recruits. Through executive coaching, female middle managers can also opt to mentor other women in the company to prepare them for future management roles. If you enjoyed this piece, you might also find our piece on breaking industry boundaries engaging.