Managers confuse “coaching” with “micromanaging”

Ted Bauer
3 min readMay 31, 2022

I actually just recorded a whole video with my friend Terra about micromanaging, and then came across some new intel I felt compelled to share. BTW, surprisingly given how often I blog, I’ve only written about micromanaging once, and I think I was day drunk when I wrote it, so it’s not too good…

So now I come across this new article. It’s about a study of different managers being told to “coach” their employees, and what do you think happens? This is what happens:

The biggest takeaway was the fact that, when initially asked to coach, many managers instead demonstrated a form of consulting. Essentially, they simply provided the other person with advice or a solution. We regularly heard comments like, “First you do this” or “Why don’t you do this?”

I think this hits on a huge point that needs to be addressed.

What is actually valued at work?

OK, this is a trick question. We would say “productivity” or “stuff getting done” — much of work is truly about tasks — but the actual answer is “work is about control.” We will gloss that over for now, though.

The most successful people in white-collar work have a relentless, all-consuming focus on execution. Makes sense. That’s the stuff that gets you promoted eventually…



Ted Bauer

Mostly write about work, leadership, friendship, masculinity, male infertility, and some other stuff along the way. It's a pleasure to be here.