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Coaching as an Enabler to Empowerment at Work

Coaching is, without doubt, the singular most significant style and enabler to empowerment at work. Quite a claim, but when we explore the philosophy and belief system that forms the foundation of coaching, all becomes clear.

In this blog, we explore the benefits of empowerment at work and share how we, as leaders, believe things get done in the workplace.

The Benefits of Empowerment at Work

“Coaching brings the best out in individuals and in teams, something that merely instructing does not even aspire to do.” – Sir John Whitmore

Forbes found that engaged employees show 21% more profitability, were 4.6 more likely to perform at their best, and 89% would recommend their employer as a good place to work. So, we know that empowerment results in increased performance and better outcomes.

As a Leader, How Do We Believe Things Get Done at Work?

This question is at the core of how we lead and what we prioritise. Before we begin, let us define what the following words mean to us in this context.


By this, we mean telling, directing, and advising. Often with instruction, there is a specific way of doing a process that has to be followed, this may be due to the process, or the leader wanting something done their way.

Clear instruction is great for new learning when someone “does not know what they do not know”. It is particularly good in straightforward tasks that can be repeated in the same way and need little or no variation.

This guide to giving clear instructions gives eight excellent points.


When we talk about coaching, we mean raising self-awareness, provoking creativity, ensuring responsibility, and taking and releasing the untapped reservoir of potential in people. This is often done through open-ended questions in conversations were an exact outcome is not known or worked towards.

This is particularly good for complex and creative tasks that require collaboration, empowerment, and adaptability. Coaching allows for truth-telling and provides for high levels of accountability with high levels of empowerment.

In one of our previous blogs, we take a look at some of the tools and techniques for coaching employees and share what coaching in the workplace can look like.


Mentoring is often defined as advising or offering training to a colleague. Sometimes, the word mentoring can mean coaching plus, where someone uses all the skills of coaching but with the added benefit of bringing expertise to the context.

Being mentored allows us to learn more from our experiences, after all, it’s about using our wisdom to ask the right questions so that others can build their wisdom. This is often a learning relationship between someone with more experience and someone who has less experience.

This video by David Clutterbuck explains this well.

Coaching as an Enabler to Empowerment

When coaching as an enabler to empowerment, the best leaders do all three (instructing, coaching, and mentoring) skilfully and expertly providing a blended eclectic approach.

However, there is acquired skill needed for each approach, as well as expertise in knowing which we are currently employing in which context and to what degree.

The amount we use each one of the three skills above determines our philosophy and belief system. It also shows others what sort of leader we are.

If we wish to enable empowerment, then most of the time we will be coaching.

How much of your time do you instruct, mentor, and coach? Are you aware of which one you are doing? How does the proportion of each define your leadership style?

Leaders who mainly instruct tend to believe that we get things done by telling others what to do and keeping tight control. These leaders may also think that if others do exactly what they tell them in the way they tell them, they will be brilliant.

In contrast, leaders who mainly coach tend to believe that learning, development, and growth, where everyone reaches their potential, is the way to be brilliant. Leaders who coach also tend to believe that someone else cannot excel in the same way that they do, and therefore others need to find their excellence.


Coaching is not the same as abdication where leaders avoid taking responsibility and making decisions related to their role by never giving a straight answer, deflecting, and only asking questions.

Coaching as an enabler to empowerment works in the following ways:

  • People feel valued because we trust their ideas and value their thinking

  • People are motivated because we ask them to do what works for them

  • People take responsibility because it is their ideas and thinking that have contributed to outcomes

  • People are committed because they have been listened to

  • People learn, develop, and grow as leaders improve those around them

  • We achieve things together that we could not achieve individually or by implementing one person’s ideas

  • We hear the truth because people are not telling us what they think we want to hear

  • People do not hide things or become defensive because there is no criticism or blame

  • We learn from mistakes, and this gives us a competitive advantage

  • We learn to let go whilst also being able to hold people to account

Contact Us Today

As we looked at coaching as an enabler to empowerment, we explored the benefits of empowerment and how using coaching naturally results in empowerment and engagement.

If you want to find out how our expert coaching services can support you to empower your employees through coaching, book a free consultation by calling us today.

Written by leadership coach Ian.


Statistic about Employer Engagement, by Forbes

Guide to Giving Clear Instruction by WGU

Mentors Core Competences, by David Clutterbuck


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