Guiding Questions

I have recently had a number of my newer clients get in touch with me to ask what I think about an action they are considering taking. On each occasion this has happened I have found myself thinking “they know the answer to this”, and are simply asking for re-assurance. Sure enough by the time I have asked a few questions surrounding the query, invariably the answer is staring them in the face, and the right decision is made.

Now I don’t mind my clients asking me questions or my opinion on things (in fact I actively encourage it) but the secret is never to just give them the answer, but to ask them questions, so that they are led to their own logical conclusions, which was invariably what they were thinking in the first place.

There are two key benefits of this. First it makes them think for themselves, and learn to ask themselves the questions so that they feel more and more confident in their ability to lead. Secondly they learn how to use this same technique with their own teams, so that their staff become gradually more empowered, and learn how to take responsibility for their own decisions.

Of course we don’t all know the right answer to everything (my clients or me) and part of my role as a coach is to act as a sounding board, so between us we examine the options and hopefully take things in the right direction. Ultimately, however, it is all about helping people to grow in their abilities, and in their self-confidence, so they are able to make the right decisions on their own more often than not.

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