Five Tips for Effective Coaching Questions, Part 3

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In my last blog, I talked about Tip #2 for asking a good coaching question. Let’s look at Tip #3 today.Five Tips for Good Coaching Questions

1. Keep them Open
2. Keep them Short and Stupid
3. Keep them Advice-Free
4. Keep them Forward-Focused
5. Keep them Thought Provoking

3. Keep them Advice Free
Managers got where they are because they’re good at fixing things, handling crisis’ and thinking on their feet.

So when an employee approaches a manager with a problem, it’s second nature for a manager to give advice on how to fix the problem.

However, if a manager keeps fixing everything for her employees, she’ll never have time to do her own work, which is executing the company vision. In addition the employee won’t feel valued, and will always go to the manager for a solution instead of creating her own solution.As a coach, a manager should avoid telling an employee how to solve a problem. She wants to

empower her employees to find their own solutions, which may be even better than the manager’s solution. So it’s important to ask questions that are not disguised as advice. Common pitfalls include questions such as: “Have you tried X?” or “Why don’t you think about doing it this way?” or “What if you did Y?”Here’s an example:

We missed our sales target again and my team is feeling discouraged.

Typical manager reply:
Why don’t you try some team-building to lift morale? After that, maybe you could contact HR for some sales training? I bet that would work.

Better coaching question:
What’s the biggest challenge your team is facing?
(Follow-up question) How would you overcome that challenge?

In my next blog, I’ll discuss Tip #4. Until then…watch out for those questions that are disguised as advice!

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