Solution Saturday: To Coach or Kick Butt

What do you do when the person you’re coaching persists in poor performance or negative behaviors?

Energy deflates when you have the same conversation over and over.

others don't take responsibility until you stop talking

The belief that coaching is handholding offends real coaches.

It’s not compassionate to create dependency.

It’s disrespectful to enable helplessness.

It’s ineffective to tolerate persistent failure.

7 ways to coach and kick butt:

Technically, coachees kick their own butts.

#1. Sincere people get stuck. We’ve all circled the black hole, from time to time.

Compassion enables high standards.

#2. Don’t have the same conversation – in the same way – for the third time. The same conversation for the third time insults competence.

Talking about the same thing – in the same way – validates weakness and affirms failure.

#3. Point out the obvious. Look them in the eye and say, “This isn’t working. This is the third time we’re talking about this issue, but you aren’t getting where you want to go.

What do you think?

#4. Choose silence after stating the obvious. Silence is communication. 

5 Powers of awkward silence:

  1. Silence says this matters. Blabbing suggests frivolity. Silence indicates that this topic is worthy of careful consideration.
  2. Silence says we aren’t moving to the next item.
  3. Silence is space to reflect, rethink, and face reality.
  4. Silence shifts responsibility. As long as you’re speaking, they don’t have to. Don’t rescue someone who knows how to swim.
  5. Silence waits for their solutions. You aren’t the solution fairy.

#5. Display authenticity, compassion, and candor.

  1. Avoid saying the “correct” things.
  2. Don’t judge.
  3. Own your disappointments, frustrations, and aspirations.

In awkward moments, let people know where you’re at. Don’t keep them guessing.

#6. Explore the challenge. “What’s the real challenge for you?” Ask this question three or four times, in different ways.

  1. And what else?
  2. Tell me more.
  3. I hear you saying …. So, what else might be the real challenge for you?
  4. What’s coming to mind? (This question lets people know their response doesn’t have to be well thought out.)

Michael Bungay Stanier correctly observes that the words “for you,” change everything.

#7. Choose a challenge and chart a path.

  1. Which of the challenges seems most important?
  2. What would you like to do about that?
  3. What else would you like to do about that? (Create options before making choices.)
  4. What makes you think things will be different this time? (The answer concerns behaviors.)
  5. What new behaviors are necessary? When someone is stuck, working harder in the same way makes things worse.
  6. What do you want me to ask you next time?

What might coaching leaders do when the people they coach are stuck?

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