Boston Centerless - Precision Matters Magazine Precision Matters Magazine Spring 2018 - Page 15

increase their capacity and potential , asking a good question will do it . 2 . You help yourself One of the Box of Crayons coaching principles is Be Lazy . Which always makes people in the audience twitch when they hear it . Because , like you , they ’ re hardworking , ambitious and driven . Being lazy is anathema to their DNA . But here ’ s what happens when your ambition leads you to be the advice giver , solution provider and answer finder for those around you . First , you create an overly dependent team , a team that comes to you at first for a few things and then eventually for everything , because you ’ ve trained them to do just that . This is not a motivated and engaged team ; this is a codependent team .
Second , since you ’ re now doing the team ’ s work as well as your own , you feel the cold waters of overwhelm lapping at your feet . You ’ re overcommitted and stretched thin . And because you ’ re now focused on just trying to get it all done , trying to do what Cal Newport calls deep work is impossible . You lose that sense of connection to the meaningful work , Pink ’ s “ purpose ” work , your Great Work .
Asking a good question is a self-management tool to stop you from leaping into action . If you ’ re asking , you ’ re not doing . In short , getting good at regularly asking powerful questions will let you work less hard and have more impact . A New Hope : Three Counterintuitive Principles Now , let ’ s be clear here : I ’ m not trying to turn you into A Coach . There are enough of those already in the life-coaching and executive-coaching fields . I do want you to be more coach-like as you lead . That ’ s something that can be done by everyone , and in a way that will have a significant impact on performance and satisfaction .
But to make it work for the busy and skeptical manager like you , you ’ ll need to follow three principles that break the current rules :
1 . Keep coaching to 10 minutes or less . If you can ’ t , you don ’ t have time for coaching .
2 . Keep it simple . You don ’ t need a psych degree or to understand fancy coaching models . Seven good questions and the discipline to make asking them a habit is all you need .
3 . Strive for drip irrigation ( not the occasional flash flood ). Make coaching a regular act by transforming the interactions you have , rather than adding more to your workload . Here is how to put these principles into action . 1 . Notice your default response A recent survey by Harvard Business Review asked people to self-identify what style of leader they are from eight possible choices . The top pick at 23 percent was Collaborator — described as “ empathetic , team-building , talent-spotting , coaching-oriented .”
I think they ’ re delusional .
I ’ d observe that most managers are terrible at being coaching-oriented , at being curious . Just as doctors ( a study found ) wait only about 18 seconds before interrupting their patients , most managers move into advice-giving , solutionprompting , and answer-offering mode almost instantly .
When you ’ re in a conversation , notice how quickly you trade curiosity for giving advice . You ’ ll be shocked at how quickly it happens . 2 . Pick a question In my book , The Coaching Habit , I offer up the seven essential questions all managers and leaders should have in their repertoire . I ’ d suggest you start by picking one — the one that feels most useful to you — and giving it a shot .
It could be the Kickstart Question : “ What ’ s on your mind ?” It ’ s an effective way to start a conversation and get more quickly to the heart of what matters .
It might be the Focus Question : “ What ’ s the real challenge here for you ?” It ’ s easy to be seduced into thinking that the first challenge is the real challenge . It rarely is .
Or it could be the Best Coaching Question in the World : “ And what else ?” Because you ’ ll find that the first answer someone gives you is never the only answer , and rarely their best answer . 3 . Build a habit based on your question Charles Duhigg ’ s The Power of Habit was a catalyst that got people focused on the science behind habits , the building blocks of a better life . Borrowing some of his insights , along with the “ tiny habits ” of B . J . Fogg and insights from others , I ’ ve created a simple model : The New Habit Formula . Its three parts are :
“ When this happens …” Identify the trigger — the situation in which you ’ re looking for a different response . For example : “ In my weekly meeting with Monica , when she asks , ‘ What should I do ? …’”
“ Instead of …” Identify the old behaviour — the habit you ’ re looking to change . To continue the example : “ Instead of my telling Monica the answer …”
“ I will ( in 60 seconds or less ) …” Define a new habit . Fogg says to define any new habit so it takes less than a minute to do . To finish our example : “ I will ask Monica , ‘ What ’ s the real challenge here for you ?’” Stay Curious , My Friend When we feel the pressure to get things done , it ’ s all too easy to default to giving advice and providing solutions , achieving only a Pyrrhic victory . Adapting the principles and practices of building a coaching habit may be a little uncomfortable at first — for you and for the people you lead — but the upshot is you ’ ll work less hard and have more impact . And even the skeptics are interested in that .
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