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  • Writer's pictureROHEI

What Managers Need in Change and Crisis

People managers must become Coach-like Leaders in order to successfully lead and manage teams through change.


With the volatile environment and disruptive threats on businesses today, the role of a people manager is evolving. A people manager does not just lead and manage people. Managers must now lead change, and this requires skillsets that may be beyond what people managers have expertise and experience in.

What we know about change is that it is people who tend to make or break the change initiative. Therefore what a leader or manager needs to lead in today’s climate are the mindset, skillset, and heartset of a coach. People managers must become Coach-like Leaders in order to successfully lead and manage teams through these unprecedented times. As Tony Stoltzfus put it, "Coaches are change experts."

Coach-Like Leadership: A Necessity for Effective Change Management

Coach-like leaders listen and facilitate necessary conversations.

“By asking the right questions and listening carefully to the answers, leaders can gain necessary insights that lead them to the root causes of why people resist such as fear of being replaced,” McKinsey says in an article titled, "People will resist change: Here's how to approach it."

Coach-like leaders are inclusive.

By first listening and asking the right questions, you immediately invite them into the journey. Being part of the change from the start, your people will be part of the transformation, and they will sense it. Excluding them will, on the other hand, make them feel like a victim of change.

Coach-like leaders unify a team and establish a collaborative spirit.

“The coach-like leader will have the key ability to create a sense of engagement to be in sync with the team,” ROHEI’s Executive Coach Wen-Wei Chiang says in Enabling Change Management Through Coaching. “They have the skill to have better conversations where the future can be co-created. Whenever we all decide to go together, that’s where we will all head.”

Developing the Coaching Mindset is Key

“In order to help coach their staff, a people manager should develop the heart, mind and skill of coaching. This would be the heart to believe that everyone can grow and be better versions of themselves; a belief that everyone is coachable,” says our Executive Coach Wen-Wei Chiang. “Coaches should also keep certain key principals in mind at all times: to connect and to challenge. Lastly, the skills of deep listening and knowing how to ask powerful questions is also essential.”

“Coaching is unlocking people's potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them,” Sir John Whitmore says in “Coaching for Performance.”

When the manager is coach-like, it becomes a two-way conversation where both the manager and the staff share thoughts and perspectives, and listen deeply to each other. The coach-like leader understands his peoples’ individual issues and then helps them process the situation and gain insight—see their own gaps and needs.

The heart of the Manager-Coach is wanting something for the staff, rather than from the staff. - CALVIN YEO, PRINCIPAL CONSULTANT, ROHEI

Manager-Coaches are Critical in Times of Change and Crisis

There is a grave need for managers to be able to lead and coach their people in this new environment. Change is going at a breathtaking pace. Furthermore, it is happening while most teams are now working remotely.

In a remote format, much of the daily interactions among managers and teams are no longer there. Instead, interactions are compressed into onscreen meetings, and so the need to sharpen communication and conversational skills is even greater. Managers who are coach-like will be able to constantly improve the quality of their conversations to help their people navigate through change and even crisis.

Remote Coaching: Learn to be a Manager-Coach

Our approach to coaching helps managers to:

  • Understand the role of a Manager-Coach

  • Discover the Heartset of a Relatable Coach

  • Enhance core skills of questioning and listening as a Coach

  • Learn a structure for intentional coaching conversations

  • Practice and receive feedback on coaching techniques

  • Develop a personal action plan to apply coaching at work

ROHEI's Remote Coaching programme can now be delivered remotely. We launched our Remote Coaching edition of ‘Effective Coaching Skills of a Relatable Manager,' an online workshop for people managers, with a pilot run last April 28, 29, 30.

The real-time remote programme includes skills practice in a group setting. This allows managers to learn by trying, getting feedback, and experiencing what it is like to be coached.

Participant Testimonial

"Coaching is not a technique; it’s about people." "I found the contents are useful and well structured. I found the course interesting and practical. That’s how I was able to stay engaged throughout."

- WEI GANG LIU, Country Manager, Abbott Vascular


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