I can't think of a time in our lives when coaching could be more helpful or important. Paradigms are shifting, the world's questions are becoming increasingly complex, and our tendency to tell is far outweighing our inclination to ask.
In coaching, we believe in understanding others' perspectives. We don't aim to tell our clients what to think, say, or do. Rather, we partner with them, ask questions to help them understand & explore their lenses, biases, values, beliefs. By working within another person's "model of the world," so to speak, we can understand them better, and help shape new pathways with them.
Sure, there are absolutely times when instruction is important. Telling others how to behave can be effective, especially if safety is on the line. But how many times have you truly absorbed a lesson and changed your approach based on what someone else told you to do? Our brains just don't work that way. The second someone tries to convince us to do something, we argue against it - and the more we argue against it, the more we believe in our newfound position. We might start out with no preference, but, suddenly, we are dug in.
However, when we meet others where they are, understand how they see the world, and work with them to develop their own perspective, well, these are the changes that really take root. The difference here is that the person has come to a solution that is congruent with their "model of the world," and they have a sense of ownership of the answer they created using their personal agency.
What is beautiful about this approach, asking & listening, besides its effectiveness, is that anyone can do it! This is not a style limited to a formal coaching arrangement, nor a specific leadership position. No matter what seat you lead from, taking a moment to understand another person's perspective will make a difference - for them and for you.
In this Coaching as a Leadership Style series, I will share coaching ideas that can easily be implemented in everyday interactions to help enhance your leadership. Take a read, see what suits you, test it out, and share with us in the comments so we an all grow stronger together.