Career Coaching Motives and Motivations for Management

If your work includes career coaching inside organizations, you’ve likely had coaching conversations with individual contributors who are looking at getting promoted to management.

Oftentimes, employees equate longevity or seniority with moving into management, but that is not necessarily the case.

Consider some of these coaching topics when having the “I-want-to-get-promoted-to-management conversation!”


What is the employee’s motivation for being in management?

  • Is it primarily the financial rewards?
  • Desire to develop others?
  • Greater influence?

When coaching, we need to get to the root of why this new position is meaningful.


  • Which of the employee’s strengths prepare and equip them for a management role?
  • How have they already been using these strengths to manage, if even informally or organically?


  • What are the employee’s expectations of the manager’s role?
  • How will that differ from their existing role?
  • Will there be longer hours?
  • Greater responsibility?
  • Greater risk?
  • More politics?

What do all of those changes mean to the employee?


  • What are the gaps between where the employee is and where the employee wants to be?
  • How do the influencers within the organization perceive the employee?
  • Is he/she too inexperienced? Too soft? Too brash? Too naïve?
  • What are the organization’s unspoken concerns that may be difficult to unearth?

Game Plan:

If management does makes sense for the employee, what does the game plan going forward look like?

  • Who are the advocates that need to be engaged?
  • What is the timeline?
  • How does the personal brand need to change or shift?
  • What are the skill sets that need emphasized?
  • What are the wins that need to be had and communicated?

Moving into management can be a fantastic developmental opportunity for employees. Bottom line: When you find the meaning in the midst of it, you’ll find the “lever and fulcrum” to change the employee’s world!

“Give me a lever long enough
and a fulcrum on which to place it,
and I shall move the world.” ~Archimedes

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