Last week I facilitated an online session on coaching for managers. I saw firsthand how the “managers’ mindset” is often to jump straight to problem-solving, without taking the time to understand a situation better. Sure, you make decisions faster, but that doesn’t mean those decisions are better.
The key to shifting away from this is curiosity. And it’s so simple: ask questions!
Coaching is questioning
And if you’re going to ask questions, make sure to ask good questions. Open questions that help your counterpart think through a situation and their feelings. Don’t forget follow-up questions, so they have a chance to go deeper. And there’s another element you can use: silence. By not jumping into respond every time it looks like there’s a break, you provide more space for your colleague to process their thoughts and feelings and give more thoughtful responses.
So next time you have a meeting, spend more time asking open questions before shifting into problem-solving mode!
You’ll enhance your connection, learn stuff and quite likely make better decisions. That’s win-win-win, baby!