“You cannot teach a man anything. You can only help him discover it within himself.” Galileo Galilei
Coaching seems to be the buzz word at the moment – someone is coaching someone, somewhere every second… or so it seems.
Coaching can be used in a variety of ways across a variety of forums. In the workplace, people talk of having a coaching culture, but do they really understand what that means? People say they coach their teams, but do they?
Coaching is not telling someone what or how to do something. Developing people is much more effective if they themselves can unlock their potential, more so than teaching or directing them to do it. Coaching is a way of working with your team member to influence behaviour and results essentially by helping them learn. And learning comes from within. John Whitmore (Coaching for Performance 4th Ed.) describes coaching as building awareness and responsibility in others.
So how do you do this? Coaching starts with facilitated dialogue, so key skills for managers are listening and questioning – encourage your employees to think for themselves – the results will be amazing! Rather than saying “I think this problem will be solved this way…” ask them “What options do you have for solving this problem?”. And then give them time to think, especially if you have always told them what to do in the past – they won’t be used to this straight away, but persevere. Ask a question and then stay quiet!
Coaching is everywhere – sometimes done well, sometimes not. Sometimes it is confused for telling or teaching.
So, do you TRULY coach your team? Or do you simply tell them what to do, solve their problems or pass on your ‘expert’ advice?
Do you ask questions, get them to think and allow them to build awareness and responsibility?
Try this. Next time a team member comes in to your office with a question about what they should do on a project – hold your tongue, count to three and then say – “Come in, let’s chat about that – I’d love to hear what your thoughts are first…” Then ask some questions – “What are you wanting to achieve with this project?”, “What is the main issue that concerns you?”, “Which options for resolving this have you already considered?” and so on…
engagingPOTENTIAL: training, team development, coaching
Specialising in working with managers to develop extraordinary teams!