Steve Hansen began his coaching career with the Canterbury provincial rugby union team from 1996 to 2001. During his tenure the side won the National Provincial Championship in 1997 and 2001. In 1999, 2000 and 2001, he was assistant coach to Wayne Smith and then Robbie Deans for the Canterbury Crusaders.
After a spell coaching Wales from 2002 to 2004 Hansen returned to New Zealand and was appointed to the All Blacks as an assistant coach under former mentor Graham Henry.
Hansen assisted Graham Henry in coaching the All Blacks to a 2011 Rugby World Cup final win against France and was formally appointed as the head coach of the All Blacks on 15 December 2011.
He was named IRB Coach of the Year for 2012. In the 2012 Queen's Birthday and Diamond Jubilee Honours Hansen was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to rugby.
2013 saw Hansen's All Blacks go undefeated and Hansen was named IRB coach of the year for the second year running. The All Blacks retained the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup, and won 14 of 14 matches, becoming the first team to ever do this in the professional era.
2014 saw Hansen lead the All Blacks to a 74–6 win over the United States in Chicago - this was the first time the All Blacks had visited the States in the professional era, and the first time the USA had hosted them since 1980. Hansen later led the team to a further three victories on their European tour, to see him be named World Rugby coach of the year.
In 2015 Hansen took the All Blacks to Samoa for the first ever official Test match, where the All Blacks won the match 25–16. He then led the All Blacks to their first ever foreign Rugby World Cup victory. They also became the second team to win on British soil with Australia having won both previous tournaments in 1991 and 1999.
On 25 July 2016, Hansen was reappointed as the All Blacks head coach, seeing the role through to the end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.