Can managers coach their teams too much?

M. Buljac-Samardzic, M. van Woerkom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


The relationship between managerial coaching and team performance may be mediated by team reflection because coaching is often thought to lead to reflection, which has been found to lead to improved performance. In contrast, this relationship might be moderated by team reflection, because poorly reflective teams are more likely to depend on coaching than highly reflective teams. The purpose of this paper is to test these rival hypotheses.
The authors employed a longitudinal survey method at two points in time in two long-term care organizations. Team members were asked to rate the level of managerial coaching and team reflection. Team managers were asked to evaluate team performance.
Team reflection turned out to be a moderator and not a mediator in the relationship between managerial coaching and team performance. Only the performance of poorly reflective teams benefits from managerial coaching.
Practical implications
Excessive coaching of highly reflective teams may be a waste of the energy and time of both managers and teams and may even harm team efficiency. Therefore, team managers would be wise to estimate the team’s level of reflection in order to adjust their coaching interventions accordingly. Future research should explore how managers can be supported in making a valid assessment of the team’s reflective capabilities and in adjusting their coaching interventions accordingly.
This paper sheds light on the relationship between managerial coaching and team performance by testing contradicting explanations regarding the role of team reflection.
Keywords: Long-term care, Leadership, Team reflection, Team performance, Managerial coaching, Self-managing work teams
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-296
JournalJournal of Managerial Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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