Skip to main content
Close this search box.
Close this search box.


From Boss To Coach: A Playbook For New Managers

Congratulations! You’ve just been promoted to management.  Whether you are a first-time manager or a new manager within your organization, this can be an exciting time. You’ve received your “how to manage people in all circumstances” handbook right? (Just kidding).

Managing humans is something we aren’t always prepared for. We might be highly skilled in our industry, but have a lot to uncover about being a great leader. It’s an ongoing journey.

Here at Cloverleaf, we are all about supporting people AND teams to thrive. 

You may have heard it said that people don’t leave jobs, they leave their boss. In Gallup®’s research, featured in the 2019 publication, “It’s the Manager,” one of the most important data points is that an overwhelming 70% of variance between high workplace engagement and workplace disengagement can be directly attributed to quality of the leader. 

What does coaching mean to you? 

Being a “boss” might conjure up images of status and power, but being a “coach” presents you as a champion for your team. Your job as a leader is not about checking off boxes when things get done, but ensuring that each team member is engaged, productive, and continuously being developed.

You don’t have to learn to be a master coach, you still have your own job to do. This is more about learning to take a coaching approach to leading, or moving from a boss to coach mindset. It’s not something you learn overnight. It’s almost like learning a new language, the language of leadership. 

What does a boss say vs. what does a coach say?

Here’s a quick example:

Boss: “That report needs to be complete asap no matter what. There’s no other option than to get it done.”

Coach: “That report is definitely a priority. What support do you need to prioritize what is on your plate to ensure we can meet the deadline?”

How to move from boss to coach

We’ve gathered some of the most important tips to empower first-time managers in their new role and to help you go from boss to coach. Along the way, we’ll share bite-size practical management skills that you can use right away. Here’s a sneak peak:

  • Leadership Vs. Management: We’ll help you discover the difference between managing and leading. By learning this distinction you’ll get clarity on when you use which approach. 

  • Humility, Empathy, and Better Communication: Discover optimal communication strategies for multiple situations. By gaining clarity on how to leverage humility and empathy appropriately, you’ll create a work environment built on respect.

  • Building Trust: Create a deep understanding of what building trust in the workplace looks like. Learn practical repeatable strategies on how to build trust with your team as you manage. 

  • How To Coach As A Manager: Coaching Skills 101: Learn how to coach as a manager using quick and easy techniques to have impactful conversations with your team. Learn how to coach on the fly in almost any situation. 

  • How To Give Feedback: Find out how to prepare for providing consistent positive and constructive feedback. Apply specific approaches to giving good feedback that contributes to developing a culture where feedback is solicited. 

  • Conflict Resolution & Having Difficult Conversations: Walk away with specific difficult conversation starters you can use for tough topics and how to manage conflict. Strategize and create your own signature process for tackling team conflict and difficult conversations. 

  • Motivating Employees in the Workplace: Learn how to tap into employee motivation to get the best work out of everyone. Discover micro-recognition activities that can fast track igniting employee motivation. 

  • Performance Management: Discover a new and innovative approach to performance management through multiple touchpoints and coaching conversations. Find out how to use goal-setting effectively to help team members get results and develop their careers.

  • Virtual Team Management: Uncover simple strategies to create healthy communication and productivity with virtual teams. Find out how to recreate “water cooler moments” when your team is dispersed.

  • Leading During Change / Uncertainty: Leverage key approaches to leading people during change to support performance and engagement. Uncover important pitfalls to avoid while managing change.

  • Managing and Developing High Performing Teams: Now that you have your playbook of things to remember, uncover the strategies on how to manage and develop high-performing teams. Help people win individually and together.

One of the most important places to start is distinguishing between leadership and management. We may use these terms interchangeably, but they are different concepts. Once you have “leader mode” articulated you can be aware of when to leverage it for success. This awareness will help guide you through all of the other information about coaching employees we are going to share. Here’s to your success.

Boss to Coach Ebook Mockup

If you’re a leader ready to learn practical management skills that utilize coaching to develop your team, check out the Boss To Coach Playbook.

Picture of Stephanie Licata M.A. A.C.C.

Stephanie Licata M.A. A.C.C.

Stephanie is a learning and leadership strategist and coach who thrives on helping organizations create workplaces that work for everyone. She has trained thousands of Cloverleaf users at all levels to maximize the platform's potential. In addition, she has trained thousands of leaders across several industries in the art and science of coaching for developing individuals and teams. Stephanie has a Masters in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University and is an ICF and NYU certified coach.