Become a More Consistent Coach for Your Team

By Steve Hansen, PCC As leaders and managers we all know that we need to coach our people to develop their skills and enhance their talents. Yet with the crush of business upon us our commitment to do so often gets consistently deprioritized. Over the years I’ve heard many reasons for why this is happening. Most often it’s “I don’t have enough time or bandwidth”. Perhaps what’s needed is a slightly different way of looking at coaching. If I think that coaching is going to take me a lot of time (and energy) to get results I may be reluctant to get started. Many coaching opportunities are missed because of this. Coaching does not necessarily need to take a great deal of time depending on what the issues are. In many possible coaching situations something like this happens. Your team member comes to you with an issue (step one) and you and he/she look for a solution (step two). Or you tell them what the solution is. The opportunity for coaching was missed. Let’s take a look at a coaching practice that can get to solution without taking a great deal of time. The Brief Instant Coaching model adds two key steps in the process of solution discovery and can be used in many situations. When your team member comes to you, and you see that it’s a coaching possibility, try this out.

  • Find out what the issue is. If you think that they may be able to think it through with a little coaching help, ask:
  • “What’s the ideal outcome you are looking for?” Here we are going to the ideal state without getting to solution too quickly. This allows the person time to look at the issue from the end point of view before exploring solutions. Once the ideal is established, ask:
  • “What are the barriers to that outcome?”
  • Barriers can be broken down into 3 categories: Personal Blocks (motivation, difficulty saying no); Blocks from others (peers, manager); and Organizational Blocks (heavy workload, moving deadlines, politics)
  • Here we are seeing what needs to be overcome and what realities we are facing when looking for a solution. With this step we put our thinking into language which can help us untangle what’s going on.
  • We are now ready to look for solutions by brainstorming possible actions to take. At this point the issue has been seen from two important perspective; the ideal outcome(s) and what’s getting in the way. By coaching your employee and helping them think through the issue, greater clarity is possible, and they did most of the thinking and talking.

What I’ve just described can be done, in some instances, in the matter of a few minutes. It can happen very informally. The trick for you as the manager is to notice when this practice could be used. This may require you to be more open to coaching and less directive in any moment. Look for the opportunities and give it a try. You may be surprised at how easy and effective it can be.


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