James Thurber said “It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.” (James Thurber was an American author and cartoonist and was best known for his cartoons and short stories published in The New Yorkermagazine). What a reminder to all of us that it is not necessarily the solutions but the questions that lead to inner discovery, awareness, and change. Indeed, this same philosophy undergirds my coaching philosophy – every client is seen as a fully capable and whole person with unique insights, dreams, and goals. My job as a coach is to help that person discover his or her potential by asking powerful questions that can lead to true transformation – and growth. Here is a sample of some of the kinds of questions that I use in my coaching practice:
- What does it mean for you to live in authenticity?
- What barriers do you anticipate?
- What is your biggest concern about….
- What does team mean to you?
- Of all the things on your list, which one do you want to tackle today?
Consider using a question the next time a staff member asks you for help on a problem or issue in the workplace. Asking a question provides the opportunity for individuals to come up with the answer and they will more likely be bought into implementing the action since they are the ones who came up with the answer! Coaching your staff in this way also develops them and relieves you of the pressure of finding all the solutions!
There are numerous examples of corporations that instill the idea that no matter where you work, you own a piece of the corporation. How would your actions change if you were truly the owner of the organization that you work in? The Society for Advancement of Consulting, (SAC®) in an article dated 10/1/07, shares their findings after surveying their global membership to find out some key elements that can help companies successfully instill this philosophy in their corporate culture. SAC® member Bill Corbett president of Corbett Business Consulting in Loveland, Colorado made the following observations. “The three most effective practices for making every employee feel and act like an owner are: 1) To treat everyone as an equal, making the assumption that he or she wants the best for the department, division, or company, and is a team player; 2) Implement their excellent ideas as quickly as possible; and 3) Always give credit to the employees for their contributions.”
As you think about your organization, what positive steps can you take to help every staff member feel like an owner?
“I hate my boss!” “I can’t stand my co-worker!” “I just don’t get along with that department!” Perhaps you have heard of these statements in the workplace. Decades ago, workers could go to work and do their jobs with very little interaction with other people. Managers would spend a majority of their work days controlling, monitoring, and overseeing the work of their employees. In today’s workforce, employees are asked to work with their team as well as other departments. Managers now spend a lot of their time empowering their staff members to make decisions on their own, solve interpersonal conflicts themselves, and to work towards creating a culture where teamwork is valued. Inter departmental conflicts and feuds are kept at a minimum and managers and staff members work on providing innovative solutions that solve organizational challenges.
Indeed, most organizations value collaboration but there is still a long way to go. If you have heard any such statements on your team, here’s some ways you can respond:
“I hate my boss”
RESPONSE: What have you done to make your relationship better?
“I can’t stand my co-worker!”
RESPONSE: What is your part in this conflict?
“I just don’t get along with that department”
RESPONSE: What are some ways you can get to know that department’s needs and how we can work together to meet them?