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  • louellafrostcoachi

Do you ever feel everyone looks to you, for all the answers?

Are you now a Supervisor, Team Leader or Manager, and have the feeling that everyone now looks to you, for all the answers?

It's true - most people naturally look to their manager for guidance. In fact, you may be managing people whose current style is to value your opinion much more highly than their own gut instinct. And because people are looking for that guidance, it can feel uncomfortable to use a coaching style with them, even when there is an excellent opportunity to do so.


As a leader, there will be times to mentor and times to coach, to best help your people develop. Mentoring generally FEELS great - The opportunity to share your knowledge and skills, especially with someone keen to learn from you, is often very satisfying. There’s also times, for example in areas relating to any risk to client care, or where the level of basic knowledge is low, where it’s clearly the best approach. However, it can be a trap to move into mentoring mode too quickly, or to spend most of your day as a health leader, training and telling others what to do (otherwise known as the command and control approach!)


Coaching works well when the team, or an individual, is skilled and motivated to learn – this is where you are truly helping them grow their own capability and sense of self-efficacy. Another way of thinking about it, is that you may be robbing your team or individual team member of an opportunity to experience the amazing benefits of solving their own problems, if you always jump in and mentor.


A nice idea I’ve seen is this – in response to a request for help - ask your team member, is this something you’d like to be coached through, or is it something that you want my answer to? If you believe the person has the ability to succeed with coaching, tell them! Let them have the chance to consider what kind of support they would like from you.


If your team member are interested in being coached, I would recommend starting with cultivating your own curiosity and expressing it to your team member. Handy phrases might include –

“What’s YOUR thinking on this so far?”

“I’m really interested in what your experience / gut instinct is telling you?”

“I hear you when you say you don’t know what to do. If you DID know, what direction would you go?”

“What would you need to focus on, in order to act as if you know?”

The trick is to strike the balance of keeping your responsibility to your shared organisation (to get the work done) AND keeping up your responsibility to the team, of helping every person to develop and grow – which also serves the organisation.


Are you are interested in learning more using a coaching style in your leadership? Enquire now about my Flourishing Leaders online group leadership coaching program.

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