What are the benefits of introducing coaching style conversations into your organisation? You may already be doing this and if that is the case, you’re probably reaping the rewards.
For those organisations that aren’t using coaching style conversations, the benefits and rewards can be quite staggering, and the positive outcomes will be quite evident at an early stage of introduction.
Let’s first look at what we mean by the term, ‘coaching style conversations’. What we mean by this is how we get our staff to engage with each other, and other stakeholders such as suppliers, customers, and perhaps potential customers. The secret is knowing what to say, how to say it and when to say it.
What we’re not trying to do is teach or train our staff to become coaches per se. What we’re trying to achieve is a change in how we communicate with each other at all levels within the organisation. Through the introduction of coaching style conversations, you’ll be able to boost productivity and performance with all your staff. Predominantly, I’m referring to managers and leaders, but to gain full value from this concept, I would advocate that coaching style conversations are practised by all staff.
Seven reasons as to why we should bother about coaching style conversations:
- Developing our Staff
Using open question techniques, managers and leaders can assist their staff to identify their own options and solutions to the issues they face.
- Ensuring personal objectives are in alignment
There’s a great opportunity to ensure that individual and team objectives are in alignment with the organisation’s Vision, Mission, Strategic Goals and Values.
- Enhanced engagement and commitment from staff
Having managerial conversations in this way, leads to more in-depth engagement between team members and results in an increase in commitment from staff, linking to point number 2 above.
- Improved productivity outcomes
The managers’ focus will be on the team objectives and as these will be in alignment with individual objectives. There will therefore be an extricable link to an increase in overall productivity.
- Improved staff relationships
Everyone in the team will be ‘singing off the same hymn sheet’ and this, together with those engaging conversations, will lead to improved staff relations. This will also be the case where there is a requirement for management to engage with Trades Unions or other staff representative groups such as LGBT Unite.
- Improved ownership of problems and solutions
As the coaching style conversations will bring out a new way of looking at problems and solutions, the added benefit will be an improved ownership by individual or the team problems as they arise.
- Enhanced resilience at all levels
Creating a culture of learning from mistakes as opposed to being chastised when mistakes are made, will create enhanced resilience at all levels. Mathew Syed’s book, ‘Black Box Thinking’, identifies and discusses the phenomenon of ‘Cognitive Dissonance’. Although not a bad thing itself, open questioning and honest replies will help to identify why certain decisions have been taken and what lessons can be learned when things go wrong.
Coaching Style Questions
The coaching style questions I refer to are just that. Using what is known as the 5WH + TED approach when leading a conversation with a colleague. Who, What, When, Where, How and Why (we need to be careful using Why as this can sometimes be construed by the responder as an offensive approach to which they may take a defensive response).
The TED approach is a follow up technique to the first answer received following a 5WH question. The manager leading the question, can follow up with the following:
- Tell me more about………………………….
- Explain what you mean by…………………
- Describe how that feels, looks, sounds…..
The use of this questioning style approach will reap rewards in many ways and although I’ve provided 7 benefits above, there will be many more benefits which will contribute to an improved bottom line.
If you or your organisation would like to learn more about developing coaching style conversations, the author can be contacted at www.Carmdale.co.uk
Rob Hoblin MBA MA
International Leadership & Management Trainer