5 Powerful Questions For The Leader Coach

"I've tried my best.  I don't know what else I can do."

"It may work for them, but it won’t work for us."

"We’ve tried all that, it didn’t work." 

"I just can’t relate to those people."

"They’re making it difficult."

Blindspots, victimhood, change resistance – are part of the challenges that every leader in organizations faces.

Less telling and more asking. That’s the advice I want to share with leaders looking to help their team grow from those scenarios.

Leading discussions about strategy, workplace behavior and business modeling with questions rather than prescriptive statements - increases buy-in, morale and productivity.

Which begs the question: how can you coach your team to shift their perspective? How could the simple act of asking questions solve this? 

Asking employees questions when seeking productive conversations is a co-creation of knowledge. It builds the critical analysis and problem solving skills that are vital to the growth and success of a business. Learning and adapting within a variety of industries is crucial, given the fast pace at which our shared processes of information are evolving. 

Asking a question when problem solving is not relinquishing power. It can be thought of instead as a springboard towards highlighting discussion points that you, as a leader, feel is important to address. The person or people you are problem solving with will feel heard, which will allow them to feel more involved in the decision-making process. It encourages both initiative and engagement. 

Here are 5 Powerful Questions Leader Coach Asks to help employees get unstuck:

1. What would you like to see different?

When an employee gets caught up in what went wrong, what’s not working, the problems, for too long, they fall into victim mindset.  Ask this question - to help the person snap out of the downward spiral, to focus on the meaningful desired outcome.

2. What would you do differently the next time? 

Ok, something didn’t go as planned.  Post mortem is useful to a certain extent.  Once we’ve extracted the learning from the incident, ask this question - to raise awareness, to apply the learning in the future.

3. What did you manage to accomplish despite the situation? 

What they did right despite the challenges or hurdles?  While we may have missed the goal, very likely, the employee has been tangible progress than before.  Ask this question – to highlight the progress, to build confidence in the individual’s own capabilities.

4. How did you manage to accomplish what you did despite the situation? 

As a follow-on to the above question, you want to help the employee uncover their strengths and resources.  Ask how they overcame a major hurdle.  How can they apply more of what works to build forward momentum, to take empowering actions?

5. Who may have a different perspective? 

We don’t have to do it all alone.  Ask this question – to tap into the diverse perspective and deep knowledge base exist in the organizations. Who may have experienced similar situations?  Who may help expand our perspectives?

Less telling, more asking.  Be a leader coach, help your team learn from their own insights.