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When coaching, it is a temptation for you to talk more because we have plenty to say. However, in order to gain information and identifying appropriate goal areas, you must listen more. Remember, you have two ears and one mouth. Listen twice as much as you talk. Your objective here is to “catch” as much information as possible to help you determine what specific areas you can leverage and achieve results. Many times, allowing your employee to achieve even the smallest of goals begins a positive reinforcement of coaching. At some point before your actual coaching session, you want to engage in a brief discussion with your employee to determine their personal goals.
Here are some questions you should ask while during your pre-coaching meeting.
• What goals are you working on right now?
• Where are you in relation to those goals?
• What do you think is keeping you from reaching this goal?
• How will you know you reached that goal?
Asking these open-ended questions starts a conversation about your employee, which is what you want to achieve. Allowing your employee to speak more enables you to gather more information. Asking questions about their goals reveals their desires and this is something you can tie in to your coaching goal. Maybe an employee is furthering their education by going to college at night. Understanding this, you may be able to motivate your employee to achieve better performance, leading them to make more incentive they can use to fund their educational needs.
Furthermore, understanding where they are in relation to their goals reveals needs that may need support from you. Helping your employee with their personal goals builds a great working relationship. Finally, determining what roadblocks are preventing them from reaching their goals will provide insight into their personal circumstances. Granted, you may not solve all of your employee’s problems, but demonstrating empathy goes a long way and helps to form goals for you that take into consideration your employee’s personal situation. Remember, your employee does not care how much you know until you show how much you care. Listen more and talk less.
One final note, at first you may find asking questions challenging. This is normal. Give it time and do not give up. You may even have to let your employee know that you are interested more in their personal goals as a way to help them reach goals at work.