Learn the six questions that develop coaching mastery when developing leaders of leaders, and the phrase that improves performance by 40%: "I’m giving you these comments because I have very high expectations and I know that you can reach them."
- When I interviewed General Stanley McChrystal, I remember him saying that if he asked soldiers how they were doing, they'd always respond, great, sir. When he asked soldiers what was needed to win the war, the responses provided much more insight about the front lines. What you do when you manage by walking around may not be a military inspection, but as a senior leader, your ability to elicit team engagement when visiting actually requires thoughtful and open ended questions. Your team will know you care and work to support your vision if you relate to them in their struggles. So the next time you want to walk the floor to see what's going on, remember, it's not the time to pontificate. It's time to learn so you can then do the work only you can do to make it easier for them to accomplish their work. Here are my top 10 questions to consider as a starting point. As you listen, write down the questions that resonate with you the most. What is your number one priority above all others? This is where you find out if your team knows your intent and what is truly essential. How much personal control or influence do you have over your goal? Here you'll uncover whether the goal is actually appropriate for the role and if there are barriers and obstacles that you need to help remove. What support do you need and from whom? Then, look at what is preventing that. And make note of the competing priorities. Next, what results do you seek in accomplishing this task? And what would happen if this were not done at all? This will help determine if there is true commitment versus mere compliance. Sometimes not doing something is a decision only someone leading the organization can make. What gets in the way of accomplishing your top priority? This can be an eye opener about unintentional distractions. What could you do to change the situation? The responses you hear will help you understand whether your employees feel empowerment truly exists in your organization. You want people to feel they can actually make decisions. What new ideas do you have that could yield big results? The response to this question measures innovation and engagement. Who in this organization depends on you for what information? This helps identify silos. Finally, what could I do to support you? Ask this only if you intend to seriously consider the request for future action. These 10 questions aren't intended to be asked like an interrogation. But to serve as a guide. Here's a tip to remember, brief responses are a sign of distrust. Your role as a senior leader is to create a trusting environment based on your ability to relate to the challenges people face every day.