From Bill Jensen, Author of Simplicity comes this not so surprising insight into the role of coaching in many of today's organizations.
Ah-Duh! As if this is news to you. If you’re like most of us, the CEO quoted in this article coulda been your boss, “There aren’t enough hours in the day.... We can’t tolerate mediocrity, but we have to presume...competence...and then, [only] when we’re disappointed, spend time coaching and training.”
Net/net: Most of us only get the coaching we need AFTER we mess up or fail. Sound like a
win/win model to you?
Jensen goes on to prescibe a set of core questions that will enable you to get the much of the coaching you need before you really need it:
Help me understand how this changes what I’m doing now?
Establishing context and connections for new to-do’s is critical. The answer to this question helps you connect the dots from your past experiences, as in: “Oh, so this is just like XYZ Project that we did last year. OK, now I what might work and what won’t.”
What suggestions do you have for my first steps?
Or: What’s the best way to get started?
This is where lots of after-the-fact coaching sessions begin: “Let’s discuss what you could have done differently.” Head this problem off at the pass!
What does success look like?
Or: How will I know I’m making progress and am on target?
If your time with your manager gets cut short, focus on this question above all others.
What tools and support are available?
Your manager’s primary job in supporting you is removing barriers and making sure you have what you need to succeed. Tools and support fall in that category. Checklists, plans and schedules, training, technology, additional teammates, a budget, a brainstorming session — these are among many possible tools and support. Your job is to find out what’s already available from past projects that can be used again, and if any new support has been made available. Often more support is available than you realize: triaging, overworked
managers are to just crazed to connect the dots and explain all the options to you.