My partner and I have conducted leadership development programs for thousands of leaders. In a recent program, for the top 800 leaders of a large city, I led the coaching workshops while she led the organizational/team culture ones. My first goal was to make the distinction between being a professional coach (like us) and being a leader integrating coaching skills. The average length of a "coaching session" for us is 60-90 minutes, but for leaders? Just 3-5 minutes. Professional coaches are not responsible for the actions of their coaching clients, while you as a leader are responsible for the actions of your direct reports. Our clients choose the topic of their coaching sessions. Sometimes as a leader you choose the topic for your direct report interactions.
The leaders with whom we work want simple yet powerful tools to increase their overall capacity to address complex challenges. Say your direct report comes to you and asks you how to handle a situation. This happens all day, yes? My suggestion is a response that's something like: "I'll tell you how I would respond. But before I do, I'd like to know what you'd do if you couldn't find me and had to act, and why."
Both parts of the question are powerful because it gets your direct report to tell you how they would respond and also opens their minds to you so you can understand why they would take this action.
Let's look at what can happen from this simple but powerful coaching question, "What would do if you couldn't find me and had to act, and why?"
But you get the point. You field questions like this all day. If you use my coaching question above, most of the time you'll either be able to acknowledge the effectiveness of your direct report's response, helping them be more confident in the future, or you'll have a teaching opportunity that will also help them be even more effective in the future. These possibilities are all far better than you just immediately telling them what to do. Please try it, and let me know the result.
Original published by Forbes Coaches Council
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Joel M. ROTHAIZER, MCC
www.clear-impact.com, is an executive coach and organizational consultant with extensive training and over 30 years’ experience in understanding the functioning of both organizations and the people within them. His focus is on leadership development, executive coaching and team/organizational effectiveness.
A licensed Psychologist, he is an Official Member of the Forbes Coaches Council and the ICF has designated him a Master Certified Coach, their highest credential. His work incorporates the Enneagram, Mindfulness, Practical Neuroscience, Adult Development, Polarities, Complexity and other capacity-building approaches.
His clients have included Exxon-Mobil, General Electric, AT&T Bell Laboratories, Bank of NY Mellon, IBM, ADP, Broadridge, Ferrellgas, Grainger, PeopleSoft, StorageTek, Wide Open West, Ledcor, HSBC, PCL, Government of Alberta, Royal Bank, Dialog, Sanofi-Aventis, Edmonton Police Service, Skidmore Owings & Merrill, University of Calgary, Rehrig Pacific, New Belgium Brewing, Hagemeyer, HYL Architects, and Los Alamos National Labs.