We have been building on the idea I have always used as a coach, which is that an interaction is either useful or it’s not.
A useful conversation leaves you clear and ready to take action. A conversation that is not useful leaves you muddled and feeling a little paralyzed. A useful dialogue results in your feeling confident and good about yourself. A dialogue that is not useful leaves you with a lingering sense of self doubt.
As a coach, I strive to engage in useful conversations where my clients can say “yes” to three questions.
- Did I feel heard and understood—does my coach really understand who I am and what I am up to?
- Did I learn something—either from the coach or from my own thought process?
- Did I leave the coaching session feeling ready, willing, and able to take the action I committed to?
As a manager, you may want to use this same measure for the conversations you have with your direct reports. How can you be a better listener? How can you promote more self-discovery? How can you provide the direction and support that sets people up to take self-directed action?
Could your conversations be more useful? Challenge your people, hold them to high standards—but never in a way that makes them feel undermined. Try the coach approach.
About the Author
Madeleine Blanchard is the co-founder of The Ken Blanchard Companies’ Coaching Services team. Since 2000, Blanchard’s 130 coaches have worked with 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.