A really quick, simple version of coaching
We were recently co-facilitating a coaching workshop for a group of managers – developing their skills and knowledge in coaching in the workplace using the GROW model of coaching. Early on in the workshop a couple of participants raised some doubts as to how coaching would work in their organisation: We work in a fast paced environment where our staff need quick answers to questions; Numerous times throughout the day my staff come to ask me what we should do about this or that and expect an answer – I’m not sure we really have time to ‘do coaching’.
However, if we understand coaching as being about helping people to sort through their own thinking (because the answer often lies within them) and to take ownership of their choices and actions then coaching can be applied in straight-forward day-to-day interactions between Managers and their staff. It got us thinking about the application of coaching in these sorts of situations. In fact it prompted Paul to recall when he first started out in his career and a situation where he handed his manager with a set of work papers he had prepared for his review and he simply asked:
Is it right?
Well, that really stopped Paul in his tracks! He said he suddenly felt a greater sense of responsibility for his work and to not assume that the manager would fix any deficiencies in the work. Paul took the work papers back and did a thorough review of his own work before giving it back to the manager.
So taking that idea a bit further and thinking about the typical scenario where a staff member comes up to you and asks ”What should I do about XYZ?” where you know full well they probably have the ability to work it out for themselves, you might try this:
- Don’t answer it – We know that is the temptation, because solving problems is what you get paid for isn’t it (or is it)?
- Ask ”What do you think you should do?” – to which they actually need to think and come up with a way forward.
- Ask “Do you think this is the best way forward?” This just pushes them a little bit further to stand behind their solution.
- Ask “So what are you going to do now/next?” They now have to commit to an action.
Its only taken a moment or two but it is coaching – you are developing them; increasing their capacity to make decisions; building their self-belief; and pushing them to take responsibility and ownership for their choices. Over time you should also reap the benefits – your time is freed up because they are dealing with questions and issues themselves and becoming more capable.
We’ve developed a simple one-page info-visual that captures this idea. Click on the visual above to print yourself a copy.