When coaching, many managers’first impulse is to jump into solution mode and fix problems by recommending solutions. The advice is often framed as, “I’ve seen this condition before, and you should do X. That’s what worked for me when I was working at company Y.”
The Directive Coaching Style is suitable when your employee doesn’t have the time, skills, temperament, or patience to resolve her problem.
The Non-Directive Coaching Style, in contrast, encourages the employee to think through her problem and develop her own solution. This coaching style takes more time but is usually more effective, especially if the situation is complicated.
Suppose the problem presents a skill or competence that the employee can learn. In that case, a good coach nurtures the employee by challenging her to mull over the situation objectively. Merely supplying the right solution is wasted if she doesn’t understand it or internalize it well enough.
The most effective coaches I know tend to dwell less on the “what’s to be done” and more on instilling the “how to think about.”
Idea for Impact: When offering advice, steer the thought process. Don’t dictate the outcome. Employees are more likely to be invested in the solutions they come up with.
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