Have you ever tried to coach a team towards an end goal but failed? Either because you can’t get your point of view across or because the discussion gets sidetracked continuously into things that are not that important?
I have tried to send documentation to be studied that points at the right solution. That did not work.
I have tried to use my experience and authority to give them the best solution and move on to the implementation phase. That did not work either.
I have tried allowing them to learn on their own and to figure it out eventually. That also did not work because of time constraints.
And guess what the common denominator is to all the failed attempts? Me! 🙂
My thinking says: if they only had the right information, they would see things like I do. Unfortunately, that is not true. As I am discovering, each one of us sees the world through a different lens. Our views may be similar, but they will never be the same.
Today I was studying Seth’s book “Stop Stealing Dreams.” And I was fascinated with how many ideas he can share, without giving any advice on what to do! And not only that, but almost every paragraph had me stop and ponder what was said. I could feel the cogs in my brain getting a good workout!
I had to digest the entire book to figure it out finally. And the answer is now simple and obvious. Seth asks a lot of questions, inviting the reader to think for herself!
And the most potent question was:
“Is this the best way to accomplish (…insert goal here…)?“
This question serves double duty:
1. It makes sure that we know and agree on what the goal is. If we don’t, we need to go way back in our discussion and check and decide on our goals again.
2. Once we agree on the goal, asking “is this the best way” opens everybody’s mind to contribute in a focused way towards the goal.
The key difference for me is that I no longer dish out my solutions but instead invite everyone to contribute. The best way that the group finds may be way better than what I had initially thought the correct answer was. We all learn, and we move forward together.
I will definitely give implement this one in my communication.