How to Stop Telling People What to Do

Traditional managers expect compliance. Coaching-managers expect engagement, creativity, responsibility, and ownership.

People who’ve been controlled often prefer compliance over participation.

“Just tell me what to do,” is a cop out.

the more compliance

Some prefer being controlled to the responsibility of controlling themselves.

It’s easier and safer to be told what to do than to figure it out yourself.

Controlling managers:

  1. Place themselves in the center.
  2. Create helplessness in others. The more compliance you expect the more helplessness you create.
  3. Enjoy giving permission.
  4. Stifle creativity.
  5. Punish mistakes.
  6. Complain about disengaged employees.
  7. Feel stress that comes from trying to control things that can’t be controlled.

Bonus: Controlling managers create bottlenecks.

Coaching managers:

  1. Place others in the center.
  2. Give power.
  3. Expect initiative.
  4. Tap creativity.
  5. Use mistakes as growth opportunities.
  6. Celebrate engagement, effort, and progress.
  7. Believe others must control themselves. Compliance isn’t engagement.

Bonus: Coaching-managers enhance the results of others.

Overcoming resistance:

Transitioning from controlling management to coaching feels awkward to employees.

What if an employee says, “You have more experience. Just tell me what to do.”

How to coach through resistance to being coached:

  1. What feels good about having me tell you what to do?
  2. How might developing your own solutions be useful?
  3. What would you suggest we try? Be sure several options are on the table before they choose a path forward.
  4. Which option energizes you?
  5. How can you take the next steps?
  6. Your development is more important than taking the quick way.
  7. We’re different people, what works for me may not work for you.

Not always:

Coaching isn’t a cure all. The choice to tell or advise is still on the table.

The ultimate goal of coaching is developing and leveraging the potential of others. But, sometimes the need for quick results takes precedence over development.

What resistance to coaching-management have you seen?

When employees prefer being told what to do _________?

Training: Coaching for Engagement

Book: “Coaching for Engagement.”