Be a connector manager

The May-June issue of the Harvard Business Review highlights a Gartner study that surveys thousands of employees and managers to determine the most effective ways to provide coaching.

First, they identified four kinds of managers (not arranged in quadrants, surprisingly for Gartner, right?):

  • Teachers, who provide direct coaching on what they know, often technical skills
  • Always-on, who provide continual coaching on every aspect of the job
  • Connectors, who give targeted feedback on areas they know but otherwise connect employees with other coaches
  • Cheerleaders, who have kind words but take a hands-off approach

One would think that always-on managers are the most effective at coaching, but their helicopter-parenting approach can be stifling, and moreover they are limited by how much they know. Teachers do well, within the limits of their knowledge, but connectors do best, and mostly because they spend more time analyzing performance and planning what coaching is needed.

What are your coaching approaches? Please share in the comments.


  • Carol Osborne Reply

    When I started in the role as a manager, I was a Teacher as I came from a technical background. Being new to the management role, I was also an Always-on manager. As I have matured in the role, I am becoming more and more a Connector while still providing feedback on areas for improvement and accolades when appropriate.

    • ft-admin Reply

      So true that roles change over time (and I also think that we can play multiple roles depending on the situation. What do others think?

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