Discover how curiosity and question-asking allows your employees to lead their own growth and development, while also addressing work and life challenges.
- Be curious, let the employee lead and coach the whole person. These are the three cornerstones of the coaching process that will anchor all your conversations and help you work smarter, not harder. We'll illustrate those cornerstones in action with Cassidy, a team leader and her manager Orvin. Now Cassidy's been pretty disengaged in her work and falling behind. In many organizations that would be a cue to step in and say look, I've been noticing your numbers are in the tank and if they don't improve by next quarter I can't promise you'll have a future here. I doubt that the fear and shame approach would inspire Cassidy to happily bounce back and get things turned around. What's missing in that approach is a first cornerstone, curiosity. This is an empathetic, open-ended question asking to find out why Cassidy's performance is off. Asking open-ended questions, those that begin with who, what, when, where, how and why will also allow the next cornerstone to surface, let the employee lead. Your people can only make better choices for themselves if we as leaders get curious and then get out of the way. As we'll see with Cassidy, people often know exactly where things are going off the rails and what'll take to turn things around and that brings us to the third cornerstone. Coach the whole person. This means the life, work, work-life merge is not only relevant but crucial to engagement and satisfaction. Especially in a 24/7 always on world. As managers we don't always know if someone is dealing with a conflict with a co-worker, an ailing parent or a terrible commute. But whatever it is you can be sure those kinds of circumstances have an impact on their ability to perform. So, let's take a look at how all three cornerstones come together with Cassidy, the team leads whose been having productivity challenges and her manager Orvie. - Cassidy, you are one of the most talented people in our organization. Help me understand, what's really happening here? - Well, been a team leader is really challenging. - We have always been so organized, what's changed Cassidy? - Honestly. - [Orvie] Mm-hmm. - Well, just finishing up my prep for the P&P exam. I've been staying up nights studying and with all that construction on the bridge, my commute is twice as long, I mean I'm spent by the time I get here. - I am so sorry to hear that and I totally understand the stress you are under. Let me ask you this, what kind of magic wand would solve things for you? - I've been thinking about that and I'd like to ask Linda to share the team lead responsibilities with me. - [Orvie] Hm, Hm. Say more about that. - Great! - Okay, notice how Orvie's curiosity and concern made room for Cassidy to reveal what was really happening. Orvie also allowed Cassidy to lead the conversation, especially as they began exploring solutions. He doesn't negate or tell Cassidy what to do or make useless threats. And he doesn't tell her to leave her personal life at home. So be curious, let your people lead and coach the whole person. With just a little more patience your employees will do the talking and the solutions they find on their own will often be way more effective and more durable.
- Recall methods for probing deeper in conversations with employees.
- Determine which aspect of a challenge to avoid when determining the challenge an employee can undertake.
- Recognize questions that generate the greatest number of ideas during a brainstorming session.
- Explain the advantage of using focused feedback with an employee.
- Identify the potential benefits of listening and using open-ended questions with an employee who is unhappy with her or her job.