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Do You Focus on What’s Wrong—or What’s Right

Managers sometimes have difficulty focusing on both people and results.  They want associates to feel excited about their work, but also need them to perform. Many managers feel they have to choose—and most choose results, focusing on people only when improvement is needed.

If organisations want to create a more balanced coaching culture, leaders need to change their mindset and behaviours. They must acquire the skills to have effective conversations with their direct reports—conversations that not only make people feel safe and valued but also lead to decisions and actions that help them grow and unleash their full potential.

Madeleine Homan Blanchard, Scott Blanchard, and Linda Miller of The Ken Blanchard Companies have created a simple framework and key skills that enable managers to master four basic conversations.  Professional coaches use these skills all the time. They can help any leader focus on helping people develop and move forward with planned actions.

  • First, create a safe context for a discussion by building rapport through being present both nonverbally and verbally.
  • Second, get the conversation focused around the direct report’s needs by identifying what will be most useful for the person. Be specific about the topic to be discussed without conveying judgment in tone or words.
  • Third, involve and engage the direct report in finding solutions and determining next steps by asking open-ended questions that encourage problem solving.
  • Fourth, reach clear agreement with the person about timelines and help them take accountability for their actions.

With a little practice, leaders can make a positive change—from focusing judgmentally on what is wrong and listening only with the intent to solve the problem at hand to having safe conversations about development and action.

Identifying areas for improvement is a necessary part of coaching. But don’t get so wrapped up in results that you forget about developing your people and helping them move forward.

About the author:

Lynn McCreery

Lynn McCreery is a Senior Consulting Partner for The Ken Blanchard Companies. 
First published on Blanchard LeaderChat
25 October 2016