Among the many management topics out there, people tend to feel the most confusion about one in particular...coaching. Despite the plethora of material available on the subject, there are some managers out there who continue to exercise coaching methods used by their childhood sports coaches. Well, if you're like me, you'd be duplicating behavior that wasn't very pleasant in the first place. I never really liked any of my coaches. Why? There are a multitude of reasons... They never really knew me, for one. They didn't ask me questions, and if they did ask, they weren't meant to be answered: "Why didn't you block your man?" Because I'm 20 pounds lighter and I don't like the feeling of getting my clocked cleaned!
At the heart of effective coaching lies something much simpler and so much more rewarding for everyone. Coaching is first and foremost based on the formula that if I, the coach, ask the right questions, I can elicit information from the coachie that he/she hasn't even thought of before. When this happens, people follow through, set better goals, and come to you again and again to help them achieve the same magic advice that came from their own mind. It's a wonderful formula that we all forget too often. I know I do.
If you've come to this article, hoping to figure out how to do all of your coaching in five minutes...I'm sorry, but it can't be done. Nonetheless, for those occasions when you don't have more time, below is a good blueprint for coaching others...in five minutes. Remember, with the following questions, your job is to ask, listen, and ask them to tell you more.
Here are the questions I found in an article by Scott Eblin (potential follow up questions are in parentheses):
- What’s the most important meeting or event coming up on your calendar in the next week?
- If that meeting or event is a complete success, what happens at the end? (What do people know, think, do, feel or believe?)
- How do you need to show up to make that outcome likely? (What are you going to say and how are you going to say it? What kind of energy, body language, tone of voice, and demeanor do you need to demonstrate?)
- (What else?) This is the all-purpose coaching question, because it draws out the extra ideas.
Pretty simple, huh? Well, the hard part is keeping your direction, your agenda, your ego in check, and your mouth shut. This is about them, not you. This is a problem for most of us. Let the process work and get back to me on how it went...
Editor's Note: This article was written by Dr. David Mashburn. Dave is a Clinical and Consulting Psychologist, a Partner at Tidemark, Inc. and a regular contributor to WorkPuzzle. Comments or questions are welcome. If you're an email subscriber, reply to this WorkPuzzle email. If you read the blog directly from the web, you can click the "comments" link below.