Bark or Coach - Fast or Long

by Sean Foster | March 25, 2024 | Coaching

Business Woman Coaching her five employees inside an office

Here is a quick guide outlining six consequences of ‘barking out’ your orders vz taking a longer-term, coaching approach. When a leader (ps. That’s you as a business owner, a parent or even a friend) relies solely on instructing others ‘how-to’, or ‘do-this’ type of instructions, rather than taking up a more coaching-type set of principles, several consequences may arise:

Frustrated man employee being handled with workloads and cellphone work

1. Reduced Ownership and Accountability:


Ordering often leads to immediate compliance, but it can undermine the individual's sense of ownership and accountability for their actions. Without understanding the rationale behind the task or decision, employees may not feel personally invested in the outcome.

man employee with hands in his chin thinking in a table with notebook and coffee

2. Lower Satisfaction and Morale:

Constantly being told what to do without input or involvement can lead to decreased job satisfaction and morale among team members. Employees may feel disengaged, undervalued, and demotivated, leading to higher turnover rates and decreased productivity.

Be especially mindful of this effect with newly promoted managers. It is not uncommon for them to overly prove their value by taking a more command approach and in so doing alienating themselves from their teams.

Woman employee thinking frustrated thinking while working in a table with laptop and notebook

3. Limited Growth and Development:


Coaching encourages individuals to think critically, solve problems, and develop new skills. When leaders rely on telling people what to do, employees miss out on valuable opportunities for growth and development. They may become stagnant in their roles and less adaptable to change, hindering both personal and organizational progress.

man employee with hands in his chin thinking in a table with notebook and coffee

4. Decreased Innovation and Creativity:


There are definitely times when you have to ‘say it as it is’, but if you rely on this approach you will destroy creative thinking and innovation. In a command-and-control environment, employees may feel hesitant to propose new ideas or challenge existing processes, stifling innovation and hindering your business’s ability to adapt to evolving market conditions.

man employee with hands in his chin thinking in a table with notebook and coffee

5. Weakened Team Dynamics:


Coaching promotes collaboration, communication, and trust within teams. When leaders predominantly issue demand orders, it can create a hierarchical and authoritarian atmosphere that erodes trust and teamwork. Employees may be less likely to seek help from colleagues or share information, leading to siloed working environments and diminished overall performance.

man employee with hands in his chin thinking in a table with notebook and coffee

6. Risk of Burnout:


Constantly receiving ‘orders’ without understanding the broader context or having input into decision-making processes will contribute to employee burnout. And the extra bad news on this one is that it first takes its toll on your best employees! The pressure to comply with directives without meaningful engagement or support can lead to stress, exhaustion, and decreased well-being among team members.


This brief article is not about how to coach, but it sort of is. If you focus on minimizing or avoiding the above, you will by default start becoming a better leader and coach. Coaching promotes autonomy, accountability, and continuous learning, leading to higher job satisfaction, increased innovation, and stronger team cohesion. Now, how would you feel if you could dial up all those points in yourself?

Sean Foster

Sean Foster

Business Coach & Advisor

PS: Interested in working with me? I help in 3 ways:
[1] Work with me privately to improve your business profitability, scale your business & improve your personal and business productivity - Schedule an appointment here.
[2] Join BIG – in-person, group based coaching program. Operating from Silverdale, Auckland
[3] Understand & develop your behavioural habits through psychometric behavioural assessments & coaching

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