By Doreen Yarnold
At Leading Results, we are heavily focused on achieving results and effective coaching can play a huge part in helping organisations maximise their potential.
Many people have different leadership styles based on their experiences and personalities, and we’ve found that constructive, influential coaching stems from asking your team members some powerful, coaching questions geared towards generating self-awareness and responsibility, to help them develop new ways of thinking and reach significant breakthroughs.
Constantly feeding people information doesn’t have a strong impact, but getting them to think for themselves does. When people think on their own, they learn more.
There are some questions you can use in your coaching sessions to provide you with the knowledge, skills and confidence to develop your team members, and to enhance both individual and team performance. Through asking some simple but powerful questions you can expand thinking, create alternatives, remove blocks and encourage discovery.
Below are some example questions you could ask. Notice that the headings provide a fitting acronym that can help you to GROW your team through a coaching style that is right for you and them.
What precisely do you want?
What is it most important that you achieve?
What is your ideal outcome in this situation?
What will that do for you? And why is that important?
How will you know when you’ve reached your goal? What would it look/sound/feel like?
What is the current situation?
What for you is the crux of the issue?
What have you tried so far?
What’s stopped you reaching your goal so far?
What would happen if you took no action?
What have you not tried so far?
If you could do anything you wanted, what would you do?
What could make it easy, and hard?
Who could help you?
What’s the worst that could happen? What’s the best that could happen?
Way forward questions
Which of these options seems best for you? Why?
What’s the first step? When will you take it?
What might stop you? How could you overcome it?
What support will you need?
What more do you need from me as your coach/manager?
After this initial interaction, it is important to establish a review process. Ask your team member how they will review their progress, how success will be measured, and arrange with them a follow-up session to review that progress together. You can then ask them how they plan to maintain momentum and check what interim support they feel they’ll need from you.
It’s worth thinking about this approach in terms of a journey. First, you decide where you’re going (goal) and then establish where you are currently (reality). Then you explore the various routes (options) to your destination before committing to the journey by preparing for the obstacles you may face on the way (way forward).
Always bear in mind that when a team member comes to you with a problem, you must keep the responsibility for solving it squarely on their shoulders, otherwise they won’t learn. Even if you can see the solution at once, refrain from giving the answer as their self-belief will only come from solving problems themselves.
If you would like more information or guidance on how to effectively coach your team members to establish a positive culture in your workplace, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.