Very useful book! The author suggests that we rush into an advice too quickly, don’t have enough time for what, ultimately, is more effective – coaching. Luckily, there is a coaching method that is reasonably fast and simple (though not easy), and this method is based on asking questions rather than giving answers. Considering that giving answers is a… habit; we can form a different habit of asking questions.
Another interesting concept is a difference between coaching for performance and coaching for development.
The book recommends several questions to ask as part of the coaching approach:
- What’s on your mind?
The question can lead to issues around Projects, People, or Patterns (habitual behaviors of the person who is answering the question).
- And what else?
This question allows to deepen the understanding of the problem and avoid a temptation to immediately give advice.
- What’s the real challenge here for you?
This question brings focus to the situation that might be moving to a very general conversation.
- But what do you really want?
A person might not be able to answer immediately; the question allows to understand “a need behind a want.”
- What do you want from me?
The question allows understanding the issue better before jumping into the advice. Might use “Out of curiosity…”, “Just so I know…”, “To help me understand better…”
- If you’re saying yes to this, what are you saying no to?
This is “strategic question,” as a decision to devote resources to one initiative need to also reduce resources to other initiatives.
- What was most useful for you?
A “learning question” – allows reflecting and finding the most useful information from the conversation.
I think at least some of the questions can be used for project conversations as successfully. No matter the improvement objective, a good question will help understand the situation and perspective of the other person better… and avoid jumping into “advice mode.”
More interesting materials at Coaching Habits Videos