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Empowerment Coaching for Workload Management

Although many managers may not welcome their authority or experience being challenged too regularly (with some individuals “champing at the bit” to take responsibility and action) the alternative of quietly compliant individuals that are never ready to take on anything too risky can be even more problematic. If individuals feel that their enthusiasm and commitment are unwelcome they may even ‘bottle up’ their comments and feedback or may even start to talk outside the earshot of the manager. Perhaps even worse, the individual may let the manager make decisions for them in the full knowledge that better courses of action may be available (but say nothing) or choose to provide no input whatsoever.

One effective way to counter this potential problem is for the manager to create an empowering environment is which questions and challenges are encouraged and welcomed and to encourage people to take as much responsibility as they think they can handle at the time. This may involve trusting people to take responsibility for tasks and goals at an earlier stage than you may feel to be ideal. However, this trust is more likely to be rewarded than abused and will help to build a much stronger relationship over time.

The following are a few specific steps that can be considered to empower people generally:

  1. Openly let the people you are managing or coaching know that you would welcome their difficult or challenging questions or comments to help design an approach that is more likely to work for them.
  2. Invite input strongly and actively to help individuals to bring their ideas forward (and not keep them to themselves).
  3. Take a back seat when an individual is handling an issue confidently and give individuals the authority to take a final decision from time to time.
  4. Even when decisions are relatively clear cut, let individuals come to their own conclusions by asking questions rather than giving answers.

The featured video clip is a short excerpt from the ReadyToManage, Rapid Skill Builder eLearning program, Coaching Skills: An RSB eLearning Course.

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About Dr. Jon Warner

Dr. Jon Warner is a prolific author, management consultant and executive coach with over 25 years experience. He has an MBA and a PhD in Organizational Psychology. Jon can be reached at

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About the Editor and Primary Author

Jon Warner

Jon Warner is an executive coach and management consultant and in the past has been a CEO in three very different companies. Read more

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