Coaching My Wife

Believe it or not, I coach my wife. If I can coach my wife, you can coach the people on your team.

She knows if I’m coaching by my emotional state. Energetic emotion gets in the way. Calm questioning helps.

dog on a leash

When I’m emotionally calm, it frees her to explore her own ideas. Hot emotion indicates I’m trying to fix her.

My coach, Bob Hancox, author of “Coaching for Engagement,” gave me a useful suggestion during our last conversation. He observed that I come up with a couple options and then ask a great open ended question. His suggestion? Start with the open ended question.

The message I made from his suggestion? Stop trying to be so helpful. 

3 Challenges of coaching an employee:

  1. History that includes failure and frustration.
  2. They don’t get to choose outcomes.
  3. The problem of ulterior motives. They wonder if you’re really coaching them or just asking leading questions. Are you manipulative?

How to coach employees:

  1. Clarify when you’re being a coach. “I’d like to coach you through this issue.”
  2. Acknowledge the special issues of being a coaching-leader. You’re still the boss. It’s easier to be coached by someone outside your organization.
  3. Work on trust, transparency, candor, kindness, optimism, and flexibility.
  4. Establish a structure for coaching conversations. Agree on the issue and the desired solution up front. Then start the coaching part of your conversation.
  5. Stop bringing up past performance. Coaching is a forward-looking activity.
  6. Be affirming but agree on accountability.
  7. Try thirty minute meetings. You’re time pressured. See if shorter meetings work.
  8. Set the next meeting at the end of your current meeting. Establish rhythm.

4 useful coaching questions:

  1. What are you trying to achieve?
  2. What are you currently doing?
  3. What happens when you do that?
  4. What would you like to try?

What are the challenges of being the boss and the coach?

How can leaders and managers coach their employees?