Most leaders would agree that coaching skills are useful in formal development conversations. Fewer leaders know that coaching skills also increase the impact of those snippets of conversation you have throughout the day.
Here are three strategies to introduce a coaching approach into your corridor conversations. … Turn these moments – conversations in the lunchroom or waiting for a lift – into micro-coaching conversations.
1) STOP already on the advice
Our default response when someone asks for help is to provide the answer, to fix the situation. The easiest and fastest way to bring a coaching approach to your corridor conversations is to withhold your advice, and instead move them a step closer to finding their own answers.
2) Ask first what they have already tried
When we stop on the advice, then we’re ready to ask a question. A useful approach is to ask them what they have already tried. And then ask them what they plan to try next. A great question when they want an answer from you is ‘What do you think I am going to advise you?’
If you have an idea that you think is going to be significantly more effective than the options they’ve covered, offer it as a suggestion only. ‘So you’ve tried xx and you’re thinking about yy. Would you like another suggestion to throw into the mix?’
3) Be comfortable with the silence – it’s their thinking time
If you ask somebody a question and they’re silent, it’s usually a good sign – they’re thinking. It’s not an uncomfortable silence, so avoid the temptation to fill the space. Let them think.
Corridor conversations offer the opportunity for you to continually empower and develop your people, without adding to your workload. And a bonus – people are more likely to be committed to an action plan they developed themselves, than one you gave them.
Try it – up the ante on your corridor conversations today.