Ask first, listen last

In Think Like A Coach I share three principles that will help you be more coach-like in your communications. 

Last time we explored ‘listen, don’t fix‘. 

How did it go by the way? What did you notice when you gave your team more airtime? Reply and let me know. 

The second principle helps you with the first by telling you what to do instead of trying to fix someone. 

Ask first, listen last 

In Think Like A Coach I wrote: 

“When you tell your team member what to do early on in a conversation you inadvertently make yourself the expert. Without realising it, you’re disempowering your team member and reducing their ability to come up with solutions on their own.  
As amazing as I’m sure it is, your solution will never be as inspiring, creative and motivating as the ones your team member comes up with.  
As the manager, you’ll always have space to add your thoughts later and when you do, offer them in a way that lets your team member know they get to choose if they want to take them on board or not.”  

You might be the problem

A senior manager I coached came to a session frustrated by one of their team members, let’s call them Jordan. Jordan showed no initiative, only coming to them with problems and not solutions. 

Our conversation went a little bit like this: 

Me:  What do you do when Jordan comes to you with a problem? 

Senior Manager: I tell them what to do. 

Me: And what do they do next? 

Senior Manager: They do what I said until they hit the next problem and then they come back to me. They don’t come with any ideas of their own. 

Me: When do you ask them for their ideas? 

Senior Manager: Well, um, well I, yeah, I guess I don’t. 

At this point the senior manager had a huge insight.   

Why do you think Jordan isn’t showing any initiative or coming with their own ideas? 

I’d love to know, reply and tell me. 

A sketch illustrating ask first, tell last.

Give it a go

Over the next two weeks, notice when you go straight to giving your team the answer and instead ask them questions to get them thinking for themselves.  

Here are some questions to get you started: 

Before I tell you my thoughts, I’m interested to know what ideas you’ve had already ? 

➡️ What would an ideal outcome look like? 

➡️ What information do you need to be able to solve this? 

Try it, let me know how it goes and send me your thoughts and questions.

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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