When to coach the process, and when to coach the solution
Do you think of yourself as a coach?
When I ask this question, almost every single hand goes up. But what does that really mean? Do we have a process? Or do we confuse sharing our little bits of wisdom with coaching?
To be an effective coach, you must combine process with intention. Today I will focus on intention. You must first decide that coaching is what you truly intend to do. And you must also decide whether you intend to coach someone on the process or method, or coach them on the solution.
So that we can be more specific, imagine a situation where you spot a trip hazard in a work area. It not only shouldn’t be there, it should have been caught by someone in the area.
Coaching the solution
Starting with coaching the solution, it is when you care specifically about what final conclusion they arrive at. Take the example of the trip hazard; if you were focused on coaching the solution, as the other person is proposing a solution you would inquire into the robustness and quality of that solution.
For example, if they said they would just remind people to be careful, you would probably start to question how robust they feel that is, what happens when new people are introduced to the area, or how people might remember that when they are focused on other things. You would be coaching them towards a better outcome than telling people to be careful.
- “what are you looking for when you do a safety walk?”
- “what questions do you ask yourself when you see a potential problem?”
- “are you identifying things that are not getting resolved?”