Does communicating at work sometimes feel like this?
It doesn’t matter how hard you try – you always feel like you are not getting through.
And don’t forget – your team members may feel like this too – I’ve lost count of the number of people who have been exasperated by the feeling that their manager isn’t listening or doesn’t understand.
All too often the strategies we use to try to manage our team just end up making them more dependent on us and less confident to act on their own.
Good management isn’t about telling people what to do – it’s about training them – and allowing them - to think, so that they can develop their understanding and become effective in their work. You don’t just want their eyes and ears – you want their brains and hearts too
What would it be like if you felt confident that your team were able to undertake their roles and make their own decisions, with a clear idea of which actions they can take on their own and which they needed to run past you first, or get further guidance with. Leaving you to focus on your own workload and more strategic planning.
This is what an effective coaching at work culture is all about – and there are 4 key steps to developing the process. It takes time to develop – both you and your team need to build confidence in working in this way – but the long-term payoff is more than worth it.
Step 1 – Listen & Summarise
It takes real patience when we are busy but it’s amazing how much we can find out by just keeping quiet and listening. Listen with a view to being able to summarise back the key points that are important to the person talking to you. Letting them know that you have really heard them. Avoid taking notes – you’ll be surprised how much you’ll remember if you focus on just listening. At this point it’s just about getting a clear idea of what the situation is – all too often in our haste we can end up offering a solution to the wrong problem.
Step 2 – Explore and Question
Use effective open questions to find out more about how the team member(s) see the situation and to help them to draw out more detailed information. What do they think the problem is? How has this situation come about? Who is involved? This, in itself, is a key part of helping them to begin to develop their own ability to think things through for themselves rather than reverting to relying on you to solve their problems for them. I've frequently found that
Step 3 – TOT – Tease it Out Together
This is where the real training for your team comes in – work with them to encourage them to work out some possible options. Again – it takes longer initially – oh it would be so much quicker to just tell them what to do – but then you’d have to do it all again – and again – and again. Importantly – the solution they come up with is more likely to fit the situation and will be their solution so they are more likely to run with it. So investing in time now to help their skills and confidence will pay off in the long run. (I had a young manager on a course recently who took a call from a team member in the lunch break. He tried using a basic coaching question instead of telling them what they should do and came back amazed at the positive response he’d got)
Step 4 – Summarise and confirm
Continuing to focus on allowing your team member to take responsibility – encourage them to summarise what they are going to do now and check with them about any problems they may encounter and how they will deal with them. End with a firm confirmation of what action they will take and when.
If you want to know more and to develop these skills, I am running an Essential Coaching Skills programme on the 4th & 5th February 2020 – with a follow up ½ day on 3rd March at the Devon Business and Education Centre.
Book now by following the link - https://www.dbec.co.uk/training