RCT Blog


I often talk with leaders who believe that their role is to tell people what to do.  A team member has a question about “x.”  The leader fires off an answer about “x.”  Another team member asks how to structure a deal for “y” customer.  The leader lays out the structure.  Someone else wants to know how to handle a sensitive issue.  The leader explains how to handle the sensitive issue.  And so the leader’s day continues.

At the end of the day, the leader has given a number of directives.  He or she may even feel quite proud of themselves and all of the answers they were able to provide and problems they were able to solve.  Yet, what was learned by those who came with their questions?  Have they learned how to problem solve a similar situation in the future? Have they been challenged to think through the issue for themselves?

Wise leaders teach people to think, and they do it by coaching with questions.  My very first Regional Manager was a great role model.  She never told me what to do. Her first response to my question was always “What do you think you should do?” She would then continue with additional questions to help me find the right solution for the issue at hand. She taught me how to think through the situation and to problem solve on my own.

You can incorporate questions into your coaching approach to teach your team members how to think through issues on their own.  Here are some questions that you can use:

  • What do you think you should do?
  • What options do you have?
  • What have you tried?
  • How else could you handle that?
  • What else do you need to consider?
  • What are the possible ramifications?

So the next time one of your team members comes to you to solve their problem, don’t tell them what to do.  Try coaching with questions.   

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