Rebecca Zucker, Next Step Partners

Self-management is an important part of coaching others – learning to keep our own emotions, fears and agendas in check in support of someone else’s growth and development. Coaching others is essentially about asking rather than telling – not in a pop-quiz , testing sort of way, but through asking open-ended questions to help someone think through a situation and gain new insights and awareness about core issues so they can develop solutions on their own.

In our effort to get things done, it’s a lot easier to be directive and just tell people what to do. In urgent or crisis situations, being directive makes sense. But when it’s our normal daily work at hand, we have a choice – we can do the quick thing and tell people what to do, or we can use inquiry to coach them through the situation and develop their ability to solve their own problems (thereby reducing their need to come to you for help). It’s teaching your people how to fish. In the classic HBR article by Daniel Goleman, called “Leadership that Gets Results,” research shows that using a coaching style of leadership consistently has a higher positive impact on organizational climate and bottom-line results, compared to a more directive style, which has a negative impact on climate and results.

The first part of self-management is just noticing the urge to be directive by fixing the problem, or providing the solution for someone else. Over time, after we notice this urge, it’s practicing taking a step back and taking a different approach – the coaching approach. It really doesn’t take that much more time, and in the end, will save you time as others no longer need to come to you for help because they have been trained to think through and solve their own problems.

If you enjoyed this content, be sure to also check out our Executive Coaching Certification article.