You likely want to reduce your workload and grow the talent around you. That’s part of any professional’s personal leadership journey. Who doesn’t want the time back that they spend advising people and giving orders. This is particularly important for people you know are perfectly competent, but perhaps lack confidence?
Make the switch to being a’coaching manager’
The biggest change you can make for yourself is to move from being a traditional ‘manager’ who gives directions and advice, to a ‘coaching manager’. It’s key for your personal leadership journey. That’s the version of you who enables your colleagues to find their own answers. I’m mindful about this as I think through the approach that helped me earn my MCC, the highest certification awarded by the International Coach Federation.
Stephanie was a time-pressed client who had a direct report Maya. Maya needed a lot of guidance, and by default took up too much time of Stephanie’s time. In a coaching session, Stephanie lamented to me ‘I suspect Maya knows what to do, but she just wants my assurance that she’s right’.
If you know a Maya who you suspect could do more, try out the following questions to your version of Maya, rather than go straight to giving advice.
Questions to help you coach a colleague
|What worked when you’ve been in this place before?|
|What do you suspect you need to do next?|
|Who’s managed this type of challenge before? What did they do?|
|What do you still not know and how could you find out?|
|When have you seen this go badly before? What could have been done better?|
After our session, the next time Maya darkened Stephanie’s door, she replied: ‘I’ve only got a few minutes, but I know you’ve got this.’ She then used just a few of the questions above to draw the answers out of Maya. Maya was unsure at first, but then left the meeting reassured she would have made the right decisions – and equally importantly, Stephanie was reassured too. I’d love to hear when you’ve worked with your own version of a Maya – or perhaps even been a Maya?
A challenge for your personal leadership: getting men engaged with gender balance
In the meantime, you may be looking to inspire colleagues in a different way. A great goal is in perhaps getting men on board with improving gender balance ( a tall order it feels for some:( then perhaps this video below will give you a few ideas to get started.