To develop a manager-coach attitude, the sharing of experience around key concepts

When clients arrive for a coaching session with a management situation seen as complicated, we often take some time, before working on options of solutions, to step back on the “business case”. Among the different techniques to do so, we may rely on the coaching concept of “intervention zones[1] ». 

1. Looking at the situation under different “reality” angles

Understanding what is at stake in a situation does not consist merely in addressing the problem, but also treating it according to the relation between the person concerned and his/her environment or problem. If you place yourself as a manager coach, and consider your employee as the coachee, you may spot eight intervention zones.

Below, the theoretical approach :

– Zone 1: the coach

– Zone 2: the coachee

– Zone 3: the relation between the coach and the coachee

 Zone 4: the way the coachee presents his/her environment, enabling to understand his/her relation to others

Zone 5: the environment of the coachee, the elements of his/her context shared as his/her reality

Zone 6: the problem of the coachee, let us remind that a problem is a gap between a present and an expected future

– Zone 7: the relation of the coachee’s environment with the coachee’s problem

– Zone 8: the relation of the coachee with his/her problem

To simplify, let say that you may look at the situation under the angle of the relations (Zones 2/4/7/8) or the angle of its content (Zone 1/3/5/6).

2. What are the questions to ask regarding the different zones observed?

To be able to use this model conceived for coach, now that you have understood how to focus to see the situation under other angles, how could you use it as a manager? Here is one question per zone, that you may use as a start, taking notes of your answers:

Zone 1: as a manager, what’s important for you in this situation?

– Zone 2: if you imagine yourself as your employee, what’s important for him/her in thie situation?

– Zone 3: how would you qualify the relation between you and your employee?

– Zone 4: how does your employee speak about the situation, his relation to you and to other persons involved?

Zone 5: what are the facts that your employee shared about the situation?

Zone 6: in your opinion, what are your employee’s expectations to solve this case?

Zone 7: who wants to solve this case, you, your employee, other actors involved?

Zone 8: how does your employee live this situation, what are the impacts on him/her?


The above questions are far from exhaustive. You will for sure find your own or add some more. You’ve understood it, the principle is to “scan” the situation as if you were moving in the different spaces of the problem. Some intervention zones will appear obvious, some others less, that’s the interest of the model. And if you are at ease sketching, you may represent this model as a drawing.

3. Being more efficient in finding solutions

At this stage of thoughts, the situation is “clearer” and you may often see options of solutions arising, being more specific on what remains to handle. As an entangled ball of wool, the nodes of which would be progressively unraveled, you may feel more at ease, or in connection with your resources, to address the situation which does not appear that problematic after all. Being a manager implies taking some dedicated moments to step back rather that jumping on one solution to another and preferring allocating 15 minutes to think before acting. You do not have time to find these 15 minutes? Well…ask for a coach 😉


Would you like to learn more? I’d be happy to answer your questions, so contact me !

[1] Model developped by Vincent Lenhardt, in his book « Responsables porteurs de sens », Chapter 4