This week we are featuring the second part in blog series on one to ones by Ally Jones from Unleased.company. One to ones can be crucial in driving performance in your teams find out how to nail them here…
If you’ve read my previous blog about getting the most from your one-to-ones, you’ll know that they’re one of my favourite topics!
Done well, they’ll drive performance amongst your team. On the other hand, when they’re not done well you can almost guarantee that engagement, trust and performance will go downhill.
I’m often presented with two main challenges when it comes to managing one-to-ones:
The art to unpicking both of these challenges is through coaching….
What is coaching?
Great question! Coaching helps an individual to bridge the gap between where they are now, to where they would like to be – without you telling them how to do it. It also creates a level playing field for a one to one performance conversation, regardless of organisational constructs like level, seniority and years of experience.
It’s important to reframe performance “management” with performance “enablement” and as a manager who is also a great coach, you are more likely to be effective in doing that – enabling self-driven performance.
As a coach (and no you don’t need to be qualified to don the coaching hat that is part of your ‘kit’ as a manager), you use questions to raise an individual’s awareness, explore all the contributing factors, unearth potential limiting beliefs/assumptions, and help them come up with the answers themselves.
Isn’t it quicker to give someone the answer?
Yes, potentially, and only if you are confident that you know the right answer. Coaching takes time and it happens at a pace set by the individual, so it requires patience and the ability to truly listen. No-one said coaching is an easy skill to acquire.
But (and it’s a big but!) we know two things:
In other words: when you give someone the answer, whilst it may make that specific conversation faster, you’re unlikely to see any sustained change in performance or embedded change in behaviour.
Ok, give me some coaching questions!
Here are 30 coaching-style questions to help you get the most from your one-to-ones. The questions are not in any particular order, so think of these as pick ’n mix as opposed to a step-by-step process.
HINT: If you feel that there is more you can coach the person to reflect upon, and you that you think they could benefit from digging a bit deeper, feel free to follow-up any of these questions with a positive affirmation, and a further question, ie: “OK great/thanks for sharing that with me… what else?”
Questions to help someone identify what they want from their one-to-one
Questions to help someone create a meaningful goal
Questions to help someone open up (perhaps they’re agreeing but not contributing)
Questions to help someone reflect deeper about something
Questions to challenge someone (as in stretch their thinking!)
Other great coaching questions
The following aren’t questions, but here are three handy tips you can use:
There you have it; 30 questions (and three tips!) to help you nail your next one-to-one. If there’s one thing to remember when coaching it’s this:
Avoid offering solutions. Remove your Manager hat and place your coaching hat firmly on your head.