Do you have the time to Coach?

Studies show that whenever you take your children away on holiday or spend significant time focus on them, they will have a developmental leap; either physically or mentally.

Every time my husband and I take our girls away, we see a leap. In February we took them to Butlin’s (UK family orientated holiday park).

We went on walks, to the pantomime, saw live shows, met the Telly Tubbies, ate ice cream and generally had fun. At the end of the five days; my three year old had progressed with her physical ability, running, jumping and climbing, while my five years old's verbal dexterity and understanding evolved. It was really great to see, but as a mum I also thought “soon they won’t need me anymore!”

Now I know my girls need to progress and develop, and if they were not I’d be a different kind of concerned, but there is a part of me who loves being needed – MOST of the time!

Teaching new skills and giving the opportunity to test them out, takes time and patience. Which is why I think my girls develop when we aren’t in a rush and have time to answer lots of “Why” questions and eat waaaaay past dinner time because the girls want to peel the potatoes! They learn by doing, asking questions (there are no silly questions) and making mistakes.

Coaching your team is a lot like that. You need to ask questions, rather than give answers. Be accepting of the fact that someone else isn’t going to carry out a task as quickly or in the same manner that you would.

For a long time I would do all my employee statistics myself, I would spend at least three days a month deep in the spreadsheets manipulating the data and ensuring I understood why the differences occurred and what things we needed to address. Then, I my additional responsibilities meant that something had to give. I handed my precious statistics work over and when I received the report and asked penetrating questions, I wasn’t able to get the answers I needed. The temptation was to take it back and do it myself, but instead I took the time to explain what my senior team needed to know and we reviewed the calculations and made some changes together. The next month I had better figures and a faith that my spreadsheets were in great hands!

Coaching is definitely more time consuming than telling, but it can be really freeing for you.

Some good coaching questions to ask are:

What would you do?


So what?

How does that make you feel?

What’s the worst thing that could happen?

If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do?

The next time a team member asks you for an answer (unless its time bound or something only you would know) try asking a coaching question and see what happens. It will take time, because it is a change to our natural inclination to help others.

Give it a try and let us know how it goes in the comments section below.