The Ghanaian played under Jose Mourinho for two full seasons at Stamford Bridge and a year-long loan spell at Real Madrid and believes he "gives everything" for his players.
The 30-year-old Essien was signed from Olympique Lyonnais for 28 million euros by Mourinho in 2005 -- a then-club-record fee -- after a long-running pursuit, making nearly 100 appearances in all competitions before the manager left the club in September 2007.
Mourinho then took Essien to Real Madrid on loan last season, and, following the 50-year-old's unveiling ahead of his second spell at Stamford Bridge, the Ghanaian has praised his man-management skills.
"He's a lovely man. When you work with him and get close to him you understand the kind of person he is," Essien said on his official YouTube channel. "He gives everything and he is very friendly. It's funny how some people see him when he is giving interviews, but he is a lovely man.
"I think he has got what most managers don't have. He is very close with his players, always trying to get the best out of his players and talking to his players.
"He knows when you aren't doing well and tells you, so you do well in the next game. You have to keep fighting."