I hear from so many leaders that they simply don’t have time to coach their people.
I remember a few years ago when I was working with a group of EL2s, Director level, at the Department of Immigration. They were undertaking a six month coach training program to help these leaders develop a coaching approach to their leadership.
At the first morning tea break on day one of the program, one participant, David, came to me and said, “I don’t have time to coach. I’m too busy. This will never work.” This is not an unusual comment. I frequently hear from leaders that they are too busy to coach their people on top of everything else they are already doing.
Yet one of the keys to your leadership success is your tribe. You are only as good as the people you lead. You have a clear responsibility to develop them. To mentor, model, and coach every day.
So how do you overcome being too busy to coach?
There is a way.
Let me introduce you to the scope of coaching. A huge opportunity exists for you to use a coaching approach with your people every day, that you do have time for.
When you think about coaching, most people are familiar with what I would describe as formal coaching. Coaching that is based on a pre-agreed program where you have a booked time of 60 or 90 minutes for a coaching session on a regular basis. Formal coaching, which you might have seen in the form of Executive Coaching, has huge value and I’m a big advocate of it. From a leader’s perspective though, it can be time-consuming.
I think that the even bigger opportunity for leaders in the workplace is the ‘coaching moment.’ The coaching moment is that point in any conversation you are having when you use a coaching approach. When you have a coaching presence, when you ask a coaching question and you change the course of the conversation.
It is about being a coach all the time so that when those moments appear, you can use your coaching approach. That can be everything from interruptions where people come to you with the question, “have you got a minute?,” through one-on-one meetings, performance reviews, feedback conversations, problem-solving, brainstorming to leading through conflict.
There are a huge range of coaching opportunities in the workplace, which are not about sitting down for an hour to have a coaching session, because you don’t always have time for that. Perhaps you are too busy for that.
But when you’re in the middle of any conversation and you can ask a better question or do better listening or prompt someone to come up with their own ideas, those are the opportunities for you to use a coaching approach and create possibility.
This is about inviting other people into the conversation, rather than telling them what to do, so that you can leverage their ideas, thoughts, initiative, and strengths, and build their accountability and ownership to deliver on their portfolio. To lead.
This is the big opportunity for leaders and coaching.
I believe you do have time for the coaching moment.
Consider the scope of coaching.
✅ What are the big opportunities for you?
✅ What could you implement straightaway?
✅ When will you start?
You already know that coaching has huge benefits, and one of the biggest ones is that you grow and develop the people you are leading. And when you grow and develop your people and you elevate the way they operate, then you create your own leadership elevation.
I’d love to know your thoughts.
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AND: Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you grow your coaching and leadership: