StreetWise — Coaching 101

January 18, 2019

From our friends at Eure Consulting:

One of a leader’s most important roles is that of coach. Helping employees grow and develop should always be one of your top priorities.

When someone comes to you with a problem, it’s easy to just solve it right then and there. You probably already know the answer and can solve it quicker than anyone else. But that doesn’t help your employee learn or improve. It is far better to take the time to help them figure out a solution themselves. If you want your company to succeed in the long term, it’s your only option.

Coaching may seem like a daunting task, but it’s really quite simple. The first lesson in coaching, at least in the business world, is to understand that you don’t need to have all the answers. In fact, you should try to refrain from providing answers. The best coaching happens when those you are coaching can come to the right conclusion by themselves. You can steer them in the right direction, but let them cross the finish line on their own. That’s how you help them grow.

To help prompt thought and reflection, you can ask questions. For example, try asking what they’ve been doing so far to reach the goal. Ask what the next steps are. Ask if doing those things has helped them move in the right direction. Your questions can help employees better understand what they want to accomplish — perhaps even where they want to go in life. There are a thousand different questions you can ask. The point is to guide them without laying out a roadmap and giving step-by-step directions. The next time someone comes to you with a problem, try coaching them through it instead of just solving it for them. After a while, people won’t be bringing you so many problems. Because they’ve learned how to solve them on their own. Isn’t that the mark of a smoothly functioning organization?

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