Welcome back, coach! In my last post we addressed the importance of Coaching Conversations in the workplace. Now, onto how to engage in a Coaching Conversation – it has three parts:
- Tell Me About. Beginning a conversation with “Tell me about…” gets you off to a great start. First, it slows the conversation down so you both can clear your heads and think. It lets the other person know that he/she is important to you and that you want to listen. It’s also your cue to avoid diving into problem-solving mode, while being a good listener and coach. Try starting a Coaching Conversation with:
- “Tell me about your concern.” OR
- “Tell me about your idea.”
- What? Once you ask the other person to tell you about the problem, the floodgates may open. After that person has laid it all out on the table, it’s time to reel it in and keep the conversation proactive and solutions oriented. So ask a question that begins with what and is designed to set a goal. This shifts the conversation in a positive and proactive way. For example:
- “What would you like to see happen? OR
- “What are you trying to achieve? OR
- “What, ultimately, would you like the outcome to be?”
- How? Once the outcome is determined, it’s time to build a plan. So ask a question that begins with how and is designed to create a process or plan for action. For example:
- “How can you make that happen?” OR
- “How can you achieve that goal?” OR
- “How can you get the resources you need to succeed?”
If you consistently use these words, “Tell me about …” (to really understand), “What …?” (to set a goal), and “How …?” (to create a plan), you’ll see that team members are more prepared for discussions and have more confidence in their own abilities. You’ll spend more time encouraging them and celebrating successes, which is a lot more fun than solving people’s problems for them.
In my next post we’ll address the second kind of conversation you should be having…the straight-talk conversation.
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