As an executive, you realize that one of your primary responsibilities is to grow your direct reports. In the next 60 seconds, you will learn strategies for establishing effective coaching relationships and growing your people to the next level. 

Ready? Go!

SOLID One-Minute Coaching™

An effective coaching conversation with a direct report requires an environment where your employee feels safe enough to explore their thoughts and reach new insights. In Quiet Leadership, David Rock suggests that four elements should be in place:

  1. Permission: “Is this a good time to talk and explore your thinking?”
  2. Placement: “Let’s see if you can come up with some ideas in the next few minutes.”
  3. Questioning: “Is it OK if I ask you to share your thoughts with me?”
  4. Clarifying: “Tell me more about this. What do you mean?”

I agree. There’s almost nothing more personal than trying to influence people’s thinking. However, that is one of your primary jobs. 

Given that our perceptions become our reality, asking people to think differently means we’re entering personal territory. It’s therefore crucial to establish permission anytime you want to hold a coaching conversation. How do you do this? Try asking, “Can I put on a coaching hat for you?” or “Can I give you a little coaching?”

Asking Personal Questions When Coaching

As you approach the most personal questions, ask once again for permission. People can quickly become defensive and stop listening to you. Asking permission frequently helps people feel safe, acknowledged and respected.

Here are some sample approaches:

  1. I get the sense you have more to say about this. Could I probe a little further?
  2. I’d like to have a more open conversation than we’ve had before. Would it be OK to ask you some more specific questions right now?
  3. Can we spend a few minutes brainstorming ideas around this?
  4. I’d like to understand more about your thinking. Would you be OK with talking more about this?
  5. I’d like to discuss some more personal matters. Would this be OK with you?

Why Are Coaching Conversations So Important?

“Ideas are like children; we love our own the most.” ―Chinese proverb.

Advice is rarely easy to accept. People are far more likely to act on ideas they’ve come up with themselves. We find a connection for other people’s ideas in our own mental maps and decide to act. They then become our own ideas—our own decisions.

If you are tired of people asking for your help on the same problem type over and over again, try a coaching self-discovery process. You will find that your job of leading others becomes easier and you will have more time to do those things only you can do. Are you interested in that? My guess is yes.

If you are a CEO or other bona fide executive, let me help you build a coaching culture to deliver more ROI and more time. Click the button below to schedule your first complimentary coaching session.

Coaching Questions

What happens when you ask one of your employees for permission to “do a little coaching” with them?

Do you see them eager to get your help?

If so, great work! Do more of it. If not, why do you think there is resistance? Could it be your approach? Or does it say something about the quality of the person you are trying to help? Either way, you have more insight than you had before. Yes?