I recently ran a coaching workshop for a client on the topic above. Building coaching capability requires development of skills in asking questions, listening, helping shift perspectives ("reframing") along with feedback.
The challenge many managers and leaders face is the expectation from their staff and the broader organization, that they, the manager/ leader, need to have the answers to all the questions they are asked. When building a coaching culture managers and leaders need to, judiciously, let go of that need.
Exploring possibilities allows the manager to invite new approaches and encourage innovative solutions, even demonstrate the willingness to take risks (allowing the other person to brainstorm ideal solutions without worrying about potential downfalls of the idea).
In the workshop, as we discussed this idea and how to get started with it, the discussion ranged from how employees might react (from confusion to enthusiasm) to what benefits leaders could expect (getting new insights, encouraging employees to speak up, aiding the employee to own the eventual solution). Once we had gone over the how and the why of exploring possibilities we set to practicing the technique using self selected examples.
When the group came back many were surprised and delighted at how well the technique worked, how straight forward it is to use and, the power of beginning from the point of “I’m okay not knowing the answer. Sometimes that’s the best starting point!”
Too often as leaders we are trapped into having and giving the answers AND we lose sight of the simplicity and impact of exploration on our colleagues and ourselves.
How could you use exploring possibilities with your team?