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    Coaching Term of The Week: Question Back

    June 12, 2012 Posted by : Codie Lynn Thompson
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    Coaching Term of The Week: Question Back

    All busy, overscheduled managers, leaders, and trainers this week's term is for you!

    describe the imageWe've all been're busy working on two projects at once when a third get dropped in your lap at the last minute. You've got a conference call in a few hours that you haven't had the chance to prepared for and you've just realized you're going to be late for a meeting scheduled to start in 10 minutes. You fly out of your seat, try to grab whatever you may need off of your desk and beeline for the door. You’re halfway out of the office WHEN an employee catches you to ask, "what do you think I should do with the ABC Corp. account?"

    Questions like that are too broad and too general to be answered in a few short sentences. We know that coaching isn’t always this sunshiny experience that effortlessly synchronizes into everyone’s schedule. However, in instances when you’re overextended, short on time, scrambling to survive, and then you’re approached with an inopportune coaching moment, your dexterity as a leader and coach will be tested.  

    Now, how to ace that test no matter where, when or how it may present itself.

    Question Back is a type of coaching question that you can use to assign ownership of a particular problem or situation to your employee. Use the question back technique in circumstances where your input may actually impede the progression or improvement of your employee. In short, it’s time to take the training wheels off. Put the responsibility of trouble shooting an issue, problem, setback, or holdup back in the hands of your employee. If you give this employee a get-out-of-jail-free-card, you will rob him or her of a fundamental learning experience as an independent thinker as well as the opportunity to gain confidence in his or her ability to problem solve.

    So let get to brass tacks. Avoid answering the just-tell-me-what-do-to question(s) from your employee by responding with a question of your own.

    Example: Your employee has just asked you "what do you think I should do with the ABC Corp. account?"

    Simply reply with “What do you think you should do with the ABC Corp. account?”

    It seems very Mickey Mouse but a response this minimal and straightforward will signify to your employee that you believe he or she has the skills and knowledge to work through the issue without your input.

    For more on coaching techniques click below to download the orginal whitepaper: "The Four A's of Coaching"

    Download White Paper:  The Four A's of Coaching

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    About Author

    Codie Lynn Thompson
    Codie Lynn Thompson

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