That was the response John, a VP in the high tech industry, gave us when we asked him this question. And from what we could see, he was right. He was overworked and exhausted—because he was doing all the work for his employees! Given the constant deadlines he faced, he still believed this approach was easier than taking the time to coach his direct reports toward better performance.
This is a common problem we coaches face when working with well-meaning managers. They know they can’t keep operating this way, but they can never seem to find the right moment to slow down and put a new plan in place.
For John, it wasn’t until we had him track how much time out of one week he spent either doing the work himself or telling his people what to do and how to do it that he finally decided it was worth it to make time for day-to-day coaching.
That breakthrough led to these three questions John now uses as the basis for his new approach to coaching others to higher levels of performance.
- What is getting in your way?
- What do you need from me?
- What will you do next?
Turns out, asking those three questions and listening to the answers netted John an increase in saved time of more than eighty percent! Now instead of doing the work himself, John is able to quickly identify—in partnership with the direct report—what the challenge is, where the direct report is in terms of competence and commitment to meet that challenge, and what leadership style is required to keep the project moving forward.
Eighty percent time saved. John says it’s the best experiment he’s ever conducted. Now he’s a believer.
How about you? Examine the possibilities. Try something new. Get new results. How much time could you save? This is just one example of the power of coaching—it benefits you as well as the people you lead.
About the Author
Patricia Overland is a senior coach with The Ken Blanchard Companies’ Coaching Services team. Since 2000, our 130 coaches have coached over 14,500 individuals in more than 250 companies throughout the world. Learn more at Blanchard Coaching Services. And check out Coaching Tuesday every week at Blanchard LeaderChat for ideas, research, and inspirations from the world of executive coaching.