I have been catching up on my reading over the past few weeks, and I was excited to find an article from Harvard Business Review, The Leader as a Coach. It supports much of what I’ve been coaching others over the past decade. Ask questions when employees come to you with a problem, don’t hand them the solution. When you provide them with solutions, you aren’t developing them for the future, and they don’t own your solution. Teach them to fish, don’t keep throwing them the fish!
At first, it will feel awkward not providing them with the solutions to their problems, after all isn’t solving problems part of your job? But I can promise you that the short-term time investment will pay dividends in the future. Keep your questions open ended and focused to assist your employees to self-reflect on what options they have to move forward, what may be holding them back, and what changes they need to make.
The more you practice coaching your employees to find their own solutions, the fewer times they will be coming to you because you have helped them develop the skills and confidence to solve problems on their own. Read more here.