If they don't do it exactly how we set it, or circumstances are different, or whatever, and they come back to us and say, you said, you give me that promotion, you told me exactly how to do it and it didn't work for me, it becomes your fault. So you really don't want to be in that situation as a manager.
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Welcome back to the show. Today, we are going to talk about a manager super skill coaching. And this is going to be one of the most important skills in your tool belt tools in your toolbox, whatever metaphor you want. Because when we can effectively coach our teams, we can scale ourselves as managers. So it becomes a double threat that you're really going to want to lean into and really be practicing. Now I often get a lot of questions when I talk about coaching as a manager, what about the moments when I need to be giving direction or teaching?
Now I said coaching is a tool, it's not the only tool you were using. So today we're going to talk about coaching. And it's really, you know, it's it's on you to really discern when are the right moments to bring out this tool. But I will tell you, it is a lot of moments. Okay, I think most of the times, we can really lean into coaching as as our first default sort of sort of mode, and then go from there. So let's start by defining coaching, I really see coaching as being a partner to someone to bring out the best version of themselves. So this might be in sports and in in some other venue. And in the workplace. I think it's really about helping really elevate someone and as a coach, you're an accountability partner, by checking in frequently by being there by the person side by by giving support, but not all the answers, you help create a system where they can grow, and they also can take on the solution on their own. So that's what coaching is really about. And this is where it becomes the key to helping you scale as a manager. Because when we are bringing a coaching mindset, we are not saying we are going to solve problems for you. But we are going to be there we're going to hold space for you, which means really just be present and allowing emotions to be there and offering support listening, and then helping someone work through the challenge that they're going through. But also keeping that ownership of the solution in their court, I want to talk about a few of the skills that come into coaching and then share an example.
One of the most important skills of coaching is listening. And this means listening with our full attention, listening not just to what someone's telling us not so that we are repairing response in our minds, but listening to everything. This means you really want to be paying attention to body language. If someone is saying everything is fine, but they're looking at the floor, or if someone is kind of looking a little bit uneasy. Or if you just they walk into the room and you feel a real energy dip. This is something that we can observe this is part of listening. And in the CoActive coaching model, this is called three levels of listening. One is listening for understanding and the other was listening for connection. The other is listening to what's not being said, we always want to be deploying this third level, because we want to make sure we're not missing something that that someone is trying to tell us but they're not saying it out loud. But this can be tough when we're meeting over the phone or over video conference, or it's definitely really hard to read through email. And so I'm going to say this is something that you practice. And this is why I think if it is a tense subject, or there's a lot of confusion around something or you're having a hard conversation, to move it to video to the extent that you can as many times as you can, because you're going to be able to read a lot more of that body language that's listening. And so when we're listening, we are demonstrating we are paying attention, we are closing other tabs, we are looking at the person if we're in a conversation face to face or over video, we're not like looking at our computer, if there's pings or other things. If we're face to face, of course we are turned to that person. These are things that I think we kind of don't always do and are really important to do is to listen actively when someone is talking to you, nod show eye contact say, Oh yeah, what else are what else is coming up? Not to just jump in with your own thoughts and answers. This is, you know, part of listening can be around building connection and agreeing and adding follow up questions. But a big part of it is just remaining quiet and hearing what the other person is saying.
Now another important skill of coaching is curiosity. And this means again, we're not jumping to conclusions, we're not ready to share, okay, here's how to solve this problem. But we are actually genuinely curious about what the other person is going through and experiencing. So think of an example when someone comes to you and says I'm overwhelmed. Now overwhelmed to me might mean something completely different than it does to my team member. So I don't want to assume I hear the word overwhelmed and I go okay, I know what this means I can solve this are curious. Asti skill allows us to say, What do you mean by that? What is overwhelming to you How is overwhelmed showing up so that we understand what it means to them. And this curiosity is going to help us quiet the assumptions help us stop ourselves from jumping to problem solving, because we're instead really wanting to learn what is going on with the other person. We deploy curiosity and a number of ways I think a really quick route to it is by asking open ended questions I just mentioned, what do you mean by that? How does that show up for you? What are the some of the things you've been thinking about? Or what something you want to try? This demonstrates that you are eager to learn and hear from the other person, as opposed to problem solving or worst case saying, why is that happening? There was no more judgmental question then why, I mean, literally, on agreement here, why is a great question for, you know, solving complex problems, I think, or for like math, but it's not a question when you're coaching. Why did you do that? Why did that happen? This is judgment. And it brings a sense of defensiveness from the other person, it's really, really hard to, you know, think of anything besides feeling more down and more stuck when someone says why you can easily shift out of why by saying, you know, why did you do that? Why did that happen to what do you think happened here? Look at how much more less judgmental that is. And so we really want to stop ourselves from, from why questions, why might feel curious, but it actually has a whole tarnish of judgment on it. So we want to shift to what.
Now to bring this home, I want to share an example of when I deployed this tool of coaching to get to get out of a sticky situation talking to a direct report around promotion years ago, I was working in a company where promotions were decided in a committee, and you had to get a lot of peer feedback. So it was really not up to the manager decide that my team member came to me and they said, I want to get a promotion next cycle, I need you to get it for me. Now, first problem with this was that's not even how the process worked. So even if I, you know, was like, Yeah, let's do this, I wouldn't have had control over that situation at all. So that was one thing. But But worse was, that never should be how it works. A manager doesn't get someone a promotion, a purchase person is demonstrating readiness, or they've already been operating in that next level, and the manager can help advocate for them and communicate that but the manager really doesn't get you a promotion. So that was something I think all of us managers listener like yeah, obviously, but but I think for our team members, they don't always realize that. So again, I explained how the process worked, and how it's not really about me going getting it for them, but they really need to take ownership of the solution.
And so what I did here was I brought this these coaching skills I listened to, you know, what are some of the reasons that you're wanting this promotion? What are some of the things that you're feeling frustrated about this level? What does it mean to you to get promoted so that I could understand first and foremost, was it that they wanted more visibility and recognition? What was the promotion going to, you know, achieve for them, so that if there was any sort of setback, as we talked about how to get there, I could still support them in achieving some of those other goals. So it's important to ask these questions and demonstrate this curiosity because it helps us support our team members and seeing that there's many paths to success. And yes, I was going to help them achieve this promotion that they wanted to, I was fully on board with that. And there was ways to also support them in achieving more visibility being seen as a leader and some of these other qualities that they had, you know, thought that promotion represented. So then I said, Well, let's talk about what the gaps are. And I think I could give you a list of things to try here, and you go do them. And it may or may not results in a promotion. And the risk there is it becomes my recipe, and it doesn't work in the same way for you. And then I'm the one that didn't get you the promotion, I kind of thought that more than I said that out loud. But that was the reality. \
And that is one of the biggest risks when we are problem solving, or giving our team members like full instruction on how to do something. Because if they don't do it exactly how we set it, or circumstances are different or whatever. And they come back to us and say, you said you give me that promotion, you told me exactly how to do it, it didn't work for me, it becomes your fault. So you really don't want to be in that situation as a manager. So I said, go talk to a few people that are at our at this next level of hierarchy and learn what did they do to jump from the level you're at to the next one? What kinds of projects did they take on? What were some of the different visibility opportunities they did? Or some of the skills that they built? And come back to me and share? What are some of those gaps and some ideas for how to close them. So they came back to me a few days later, and they share it. Okay, here's what I'm hearing, I think I'm doing really well in this one area. But here's the place I could, I could actually, you know, build a little bit more skill around. And we had a really open conversation where they had full accountability to taking on this plan, where it wasn't a recipe that I had given them. They came to me with the plan. And then I could give feedback and say, Oh, I think one more thing over here. Are we really helpful or yes, okay, that is a great place that you're really strong and and this place could use a little fine tuning. And we had a conversation that they were accountable for as opposed to me writing I plan on saying, Here you go, good luck. And I will tell you, the person took all of that feedback they took, you know, they they worked on these gaps, they close these gaps. And in the end, it ended up really working in their favor.
So this is the benefit of deploying this coaching skill is, and this is how it takes work off our plate as managers is if I had said, Okay, I'm gonna go get you a promotion, I'm gonna go talk to every single person and figure out what do you need to do and come back together and give you a plan and meet with you every day about it. This is so much more work on our plates, that actually doesn't leave our teams feeling empowered. And it's not about saying, Oh, it's all up to you I'm hands off, it's about saying what is going to have the most leverage with his team member was going to make the biggest impact. And that team member taking the plan on themselves, and figuring it out and working on it and feeling really proud of a sense of accomplishment that they learned what they need to do, and they did it. And it resulted well for them, that had so much more growth for that person than if I just told them plan. And in the end, it resulted in a lot more kind of headaches for me if they had gone in and did what I told them and it didn't work out. So this again, is why coaching is so important. So this is something I'm going to be talking about quite a bit because coaching is such a key mentors go and I want to share more examples. I'll probably bring some experts in to talk about it as well. Because again, coaching is one tool, but it's probably the one that you're gonna want to use the most to be honest to be a to be a supportive, empathetic, compassionate leader who has accountability on their team. Because the biggest thing I just said, coaching keeps the solution with your redirect report, and it's not on you and it helps stop you from problem solving.
That's all I have for today. Thank you so much for tuning in to the managing made simple podcast where my goal is to demystify the job of people management so that together we can make the workplace and where everyone can thrive. I always love to hear from you.
So please reach out at Lia garvin.com or message me on LinkedIn. See you next time.