Coaching your team can feel like a daunting task. Actually, it really can be a daunting task which is why people don’t often do it effectively. Because it can be time consuming we often stop our coaching efforts and fall back into doing the tasks ourselves. Though this feels like the easiest solution, it hurts you over time. If we simply put in the effort up front, we will save a ton of time in the long haul. So, how can we effectively coach our teams with the least amount of effort possible? Let’s take a look at a two strong tips to accomplish that very thing.
1. Hold Back on Offering Advice
It can seem like the right thing to offer advice any time our team members ask for feedback on a issue. Though it makes us feel good, it can be a problem in the future. It’s not that you should halt ALL advice, it’s just that it shouldn’t be our first response. Over time, it creates a dependency for answers from you on everything. The ultimate goal is to teach the team to think for themselves and find the right answers without you.
2. Ask Challenging Questions
Instead of leaning into advice giving, start with asking questions that get your team thinking. Though your team may not have all of the answers, they do desperately want to feel empowered and confident about what their doing. Ask questions that promote feelings of empowerment and confidence.
For example, when a team member comes to you with a request to solve a problem, you can say, “Interesting question. What ideas do you have going already?” Then, you hear them out and help them follow the path of their own problem solving. Most of the time, they will develop the solution that you would have offered anyway. But, since they came up with it on their own, they feel confident and empowered to problem solve again in the future because they found the right answer.
Now, if they happen to come up with a solution that doesn’t hit the target, don’t immediately follow up with the right solution. Ask another questions like, “Great thought, but what are some other alternatives?” This subtly expresses that you value their insight and want to continue receiving their input. This is how to continue to teach your team members to find solutions that line up with the direction you’re leading them.
People don’t truly learn when you provide all of the answers. They learn by doing, and they can only do if you empower them to do.