We’re often so focused on knowing the answers at work that we forget the power of great questions.
People often experience incredible transformations when they have a chance to explore what’s right for them, not what someone else tells them is right for them.
This is why coaching works, and while you may not have formally trained as a coach, you can employ this powerful tool to help you become more aligned with your team to achieve the results you want. By learning this coaching habit, you’ll be amazed at how much more insightful and productive your conversations can become.
Let’s say you have a team member who’s struggling with productivity right now. Here’s a sample conversation that might help you navigate a similar issue:
You: “What’s the real challenge for you right now?”
Team member: I can’t get everything I need done in the time I have.
You: How is this impacting you?
Team member: I’m feeling stressed and working long hours to get the work done.
You: What difference would it make if you could get your work done within the working day and finish on time?
Team member: It would be great; I could spend more time with my family, be less tired and get in some exercise.
You: What is the biggest drain on your time during the day?
Team member: Answering queries from other departments and colleagues, I am constantly being distracted.
You: How could you manage these distractions better?
Team Member: I could let people know that I am busy working on an important project and only bring queries when they’ve already done their best to find out the answer and solve it themselves. We have a knowledge base, and there are other subject matter experts on the team.
You: How could you go about doing this in a way that feels comfortable for you?
Team Member: I could raise it at the team meeting and explain why I am asking for it.
You: What are the possible outcomes of this?
So you get the picture!
Use open questions, so there are no yes or no answers.
The person can think through solutions for themselves rather than being told the resolution, making it a much more effective process with a better likelihood of success!
Of course, as vital as it is to ask questions, it is also important to listen attentively.
Listening is a skill as underrated as it is underused.
Take the time to hear what the person is saying.
Make friends with silence – it’s essential to give people time to process their thoughts and answers. This also allows you to do the same, making it a powerful coaching conversation.
There is no secret trick to this; it’s a case of getting your listening ears on and being “all in” the conversation.
The result of this process is that you earn the trust and respect of your team, leading to better engagement and a more positive working environment.
A veritable win-win for you and your team!