Throw back the ball!

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under 1 minute

One of the biggest reasons strategic coaching has not taken hold in most organizations is due to our love of problem-solving. Most leaders of people have been promoted because they are very good problem-solvers and they’ve been recognized throughout their career for their expertise. Therefore, one of the most challenging shifts leaders face when adopting a coaching mindset, is the transition from solving other people’s problems, to helping them solve their own.

After all, our job as managers is to develop our future leaders. If we don’t empower people to think for, and do for, themselves – we are not doing our jobs.

Case in point: one of your direct-reports has just come to your door with a “problem.” Metaphorically-speaking, they have thrown you a ball. Instead of solving the problem, throw the ball back to them with one of the following questions:

  1. What have you thought of so far?
  2. What are your options in this situation?
  3. What do you think you should do?

The idea here is to stimulate people’s thinking and encourage them to solve the problem themselves. When we stop problem-solving for others a number of great things happen:

  1. Your team members will begin coming to your door with the problem along with ideas for the solution.
  2. Your people will have more buy-in to their own solutions.
  3. You will be doing less work and your team members more of their work.
  4.  People will feel more empowered and engaged.

This is just the first step toward understanding the powerful transformations that can occur in our organizational cultures when we adopt a coaching mindset as leaders. We can shift our team environment from one where people primarily receive direction to one where people are “engaged.”

Imagine the difference it would make in your organization if all your employees were more highly engaged and committed!

To learn more about how to create powerful coaching cultures in your organization, drop me an email.

“Resist your urge to solve the problem. The minute you start telling people stop thinking. Ask a good question instead.” ~