Let me start today by asking you a question.
What is the one skill that you think every leader must learn?
In my experience, after developing leaders for 20 years, I’d say coaching.
At every level of leadership, you have to know how to coach.
But many leaders avoid coaching because they think that it takes too much time.
So, today I’d like to prove to you that this is a myth.
Coaching can actually be done really quickly.
While formal coaching meetings require an agenda and can take time, informal coaching can happen on the fly.
So, what is informal coaching?
It is the act of asking curious questions.
There are three key skills that you need to be a good coach:
- Asking good questions
- Listening…really listening
Yes. That’s it.
Let me give you an example.
Let’s say someone on your team makes a mistake.
Instead of judging or lecturing this person, you shift gears and get curious about them.
You could ask a simple, curious question like: “What approach did you take to come to that conclusion?”
Notice that my question is very open-ended.
Notice that my questions are not accusatory.
Then, you pause.
You don’t give them advice.
You wait for their answer.
After they answer your question, you can ask another curious question.
Perhaps you can ask them, “What did you learn from this mistake and what would you do differently next time?
Listen some more.
This, my friend, is coaching.
It really is not rocket science.
But coaching does require some behaviours change on your part.
It requires you to shift from solving everyone’s problems to talking less and listening more.
You’ll be amazed how some simple questions and good listening can really help to develop your team.
Vanessa Judelman is an author, coach, and sought-after leadership expert. Over the past 20 years, she has created a proven formula to develop results-oriented leaders who feel empowered and confident in their job. Vanessa is the author of Mastering Leadership: What It Takes to Lead in Today’s Fast Paced World. Order your copy here.