A way to be coach-like when you’re short on time

A manager, let’s call him J, had this dilemma: 

“I want to coach but most of the time we’re in a time crunch and there isn’t time, what can I do?” 

Does this resonate with you too? 

How much time do you need to coach? 

As J was talking he had an insight that maybe he has more time than he thinks he does. 

He went to explain that he wants to ask a question but in the moment he can’t think of one because his brain is already coming up with the answer. 

So as a group we helped J come up with some prepared questions he could use, such as: 

    1. Tell me what you’re thinking already so I’m not telling you what you already know.
    2. I’m going to tell you what I think, but first I’m interested in hearing your ideas.
    3. What would you do if you were me? 

These types of questions do three things. They: 

 – Minimise the power imbalance because you ask to hear from your team member first.

 – Build psychological safety (feeling safe to take risks, share ideas without fear of criticism or embarrassment) by being vulnerable enough to admit you don’t know it all.

 – Help your team member realise they don’t need to come to you for answers every time.  

Close up of three surgeons hands during surgery

Ask first, tell last 
You don’t know how long it will take for your team member to come up with an answer if you don’t give them any time to try. 

You might be surprised. 

Even trainee surgeons, who are arguably in life or death situations, are quizzed on procedures and decision making during surgery. 

Give a go and let me know.

Write down the question you like the most or create one of your own, then send me an email and tell me what happened.

Where can I buy a copy of Think Like A Coach? 

Think Like A Coach is available in the UK from Amazon and The Right Book Press. Worldwide it is available through Amazon. Links here.

Want practical coach ideas that you can use everyday?

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