26 Apr 2017
by Lorraine Barrie
Executive Coach and Senior Consultant with Integral Development
Most managers are typically excellent at ‘telling’. To be sure, ‘telling subordinates what to do’ is the right thing to do at times. Telling provides the right answer in a controlled setting, is fast, responds to what the subordinate wants to hear, is easy and simple, ensures quality and is an ego boost to the leader. But a coaching approach requires ‘asking’. Asking has many benefits. Asking builds confidence in others, produces buy-in (people love their own ideas), increases the generation of creative ideas resulting in more options, supports long term development, generates a feeling of value, can actually be faster (they don’t have to come to you!), reduces questions in the future, empowers employees, increases awareness and takes the pressure off of the leader to always be right. Taking a coaching approach requires the leader to use an ‘asking’ strategy.
A coaching approach also requires a coachable moment to exist. The coachable moment exists in those times when an individual is open to taking in new information that will affect a shift in his/her knowledge and behavior. The Coach creates the environment where such moments can happen. To be effective, the coachable moment requires a level of mutual trust. Trust is possible when the coach’s intention and words are aligned with the agenda of the coachee and the two have a supportive relationship. The leader is responsible for creating a coaching environment.
When we are coaching, our focus is on the coachee. On his/her goals, objectives, and definition of success. Our work is geared to move the coachee forward along a higher path of development, towards his/her answer and action.
Coaching is possible when an established reason to work together and a mutual respect of the participants exists.
The words we use when coaching are selected for ease of understanding, importance and relevance to the coachee’s unique situation. We use them with a sense of economy. They are not judgmental in nature and are delivered in a neutral manner in order that they may be fully heard by the coachee.
When a coachable moment occurs, it can best be described as a conversation. A coaching conversation can occur in as little as 5 minutes in the hallway. By following this model and using specific coaching skills, the coach delivers an empowering, developmental moment that produces lasting results.
If you are having difficulty coaching one of your staff, consider your intention; is it your agenda or the coachee’s agenda? What about the relationship? Is there trust? And finally think about the words you use, are they neutral and non-judgemental?
Adapted from the article by Carl Nielson of The Nielson Group
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