In reflecting back over the last decade, I revisited my business’s (Mindwise Communications) slogan, “Asking the Right Questions”. And asked myself, what exactly does this mean?
When I created this slogan in 2005, I had just finished my MBA. I was excited and ready to put my knowledge and skills to work in the organizational development field.
Since then, through many consulting projects, I have realized, that asking the right questions, is only half of the equation. The other half is, “what to do with the answers?”
When asking questions to pinpoint the workplace issues and gather feedback to find solutions, this may take a lot of effort, but this process is only the first step. The next step is finding ways to present the information to upper management to encourage the development of action plans and steps.
As leaders we need to take ourselves out of the equation and look at the feedback with the mindset of possibilities. The comments employees relay back are nuggets of useful information on how to improve systems.
In taking a closer look at my consulting practice, I realized I needed to strengthen my role with implementing recommendations and not just the evaluation process. How can I put forward recommendations, which engages the client to take action and the responsibility of leading others in making changes?
Tell me and I will forget,
Show me and I might remember,
Involve me and I will understand.
So the question becomes how can we, as leaders, involve the employees more?
Part of the answer lies within using a coaching approach.
Coaching is a process that guides and supports another person through a learning journey of self-awareness and discovery.
For example, if a middle manager is not aware that their leadership style is not working, how can you support this leader in becoming self-aware, confident and willing to make the necessary changes?
A key element is intention. It is important to switch from “telling” to asking” to facilitate learning, thinking and problem solving. The coaching process transfer’s ownership (of the problem-solving) to the coachee.
With coaching, the assumption is that individuals or teams are capable of generating their own solutions.
This is an important piece in getting employees and leaders involved with the process in making needed changes to workplace systems, processes and communication.
Coaching does not replace the consultant’s role, but it can be added on to the role as a valuable asset with developing and implementing recommendations.
As we move forward into the next decade, I am optimistic that as we know more, we will do more and create even more successful outcomes.
Cheers and Best wishes for 2020!