At wits end with managing people ?

Whether you’re a manager trying to develop your people or trying develop yourself and build a career, you need to know that one of the key ways you can have a positive impact on the business is by operating more as a “Coach” than a “Manager.” This approach is also helpful if you are a sales person, helping clients to make decisions.

A study conducted by Bersin & Associates showed that organizations with senior leaders who coach effectively and frequently improve their business results by 21 percent as compared to those who never coach.

Many people are unsure about what is different about a coaching approach, so let me outline some key descriptors:

  • Coaches take an “Ask vs. Tell” approach. Don’t tell the employee what to do, instead ask directing questions. This allows the employee to create their own solutions. When they go through the thought process to get to resolution, they are much more bought-in — it’s their idea!
  • Coaches focus on the employee vs. the task — it’s about their development.
  • Coaches set up a clear accountability structure for action and outcomes. It helps keep the employee focused on achieving the desired goals.
  • Coaching is something that can/should happen as needed and in-the-moment, which is the best way for learning to occur. It’s a great way to reinforce what may have been learned in the classroom by capitalizing on those on-the-job learning experiences.

Coaching is about having Effective Conversations, preferably on a regular basis.What makes a conversation “effective”? It’s about a dialogue (asking), not a monologue (telling). The best coaching questions are:

  • Open-ended;
  • Focused on useful outcomes;
  • Non-judgmental (avoid asking “why?”).

Here are some examples of good open-ended questions compared to the close-ended version:

Open-ended/Inviting Questions

What is the status on your deal or project?
How can I help you?
Knowing what you now know (kwink) – how will you approach it next time ?
Walk me through your thought process?
What other approaches might you take next time?
How are your emotions influencing your perception of the situation?
Close-ended/Evaluative Questions

Are you finished yet?
Do you have a problem?
Did you make that mistake?
Will this really solve the problem?
What made you think that was a good idea?
That’s clear enough, isn’t it?
Didn’t I go over this already?
Why are you not finished yet ?

Great coaching books to read is “Performance Coaching”  by John Whitmore as well as “Co-Active coaching – transforming business, changing lives”  by Henry Kimsey-House

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