As a Leader: you listen and ask questions that help your team find answers
We all know by now that “Coach As Leader” is expected of us. It’s expected from all of us who work in teams, and especially from those of us leading teams.
So how do you coach when you are a leader?
We know that listening and asking questions is the key, but you already do that right?
Yes you do. And coaches listen and ask questions differently. And yes, doing a foundational coaching skills course would be great (highly recommend my school). But let me break it down to the essentials (which I love to do: make the complex simple).
If you do this, you’ll completely change the way you interact with your team (and anyone else in your life)
What you can do to listen and ask questions like a coach
- Active Listening
- Powerful questions
All your attention is on the other person. What are they saying, what do they think about it? What matters? Listen beyond the story and the details. Listen to understand, not respond.
pro tip: you’ll find yourself drifting into your own head and focusing on what you think about what they are saying. It’s normal. We all do it. The ninjas of us do this one thing when we notice: revert the attention back to the other person.
These are open questions. You can’t answer them with a yes or no, which is why they get people thinking.
E.g. what’s the sticking point? How do you want to approach finding an answer? Who can help you? Where do you go next?
All of these who, what, where, how, when questions really activate thinking and creativity in the other person. And they show your people that you trust them to have the answers, or go find out.
Putting it into practical exercise
For one week, when people are talking, listen for their values. You don’t have to be right.
Then as they speak, ask them open questions.
Next level leadership
If you are already comfortable with active listening and powerful questions – or if you just love to elevate your impact, do this next thing too.
If someone has a value, they also have the related quality.
That is people who have a value around creativity are also creative, (because they practice what they believe in).
So to take your leadership to awesome levels of engagement and motivation, acknowledge your team member’s qualities.
You can say things like:
You solved this really creatively.
You are creative. I can see it in the way you handled this challenge
They will exhibit more of this behaviour.
This post is part of my special Coaching Tips Series. This series was inspired by my clients and the core themes in their challenges. When we can apply these tips, we bring a lot of ease into our lives and step into our leadership. Want to talk it through with me? Use a free Experience Coaching session and I’ll help you.