Coaching uses questions all the time. Questions are a great way to learn what your employee is thinking and how they would handle certain situations. As a coach, your goal is to lead the employee towards learning, progress, and solutions, while letting the employee discover these solutions for themselves. Questions are a great way to steer employees in the right directions without giving them answers directly.
If an employee asks a question, and their manager simply gives them the answer, the employee doesn't really learn anything. However, if an employee asks a question and the manager responds with another question, such as,"Well John, what do you think would be the best way to successfully solve this problem?" the employee can come to the solution themselves, with some guidance from their manager. Now John has not only learned how to deal with the specific problem he is facing, but how to handle similar problems in the future, and his confidence, engagement, attitude, and motivation have all increased.
Here are 3 great coaching question types to use when coaching your employees.
Self-Actualized Questions: This is a what question, plus a success imperative. For example, "What do we need to do to successfully accomplish ABC?" This type of question gets an employee to think about the success factors when answering the question.
3rd. Party Questions: This is simply asking a question that involves a third party. For example, "John, if the president of the company was here right now, what would they think about your attitude?" This allows the employee to put themselves outside the situation and answer as somebody else.
Rating Questions: This type of question has the employee rate themselves in a specific area. For example, "On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being not confident at all and 10 being extremely confident, how do you feel about handling project XYZ?" Most employees answer in a middle range, which is a great opportunity for the coach to respond with a follow up question, such as, a self-actualized question. "What can we do to get you into the 9 and 10 range and successfully handle this project?"
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