Which Conversation Is Necessary?

Last week, I was work-shopping 'Coaching' with a small group of leaders and a 'problem' case study was presented by a member of the group to use as an opportunity to practise their understanding of coaching and new found knowledge. We were briefed by the leader and the group/team of coaches commenced using the GROW model to uncover the purpose of the conversation goal.

After five minutes of questioning, the group realised that they were all feeling the same, challenged by the behaviour of the 'coachee' (which was being well acted); they were unable to create a space which created a dialogue . The coachee was a 'closed shop' and their behaviour was appalling and unhelpful. 

The group was stumped.

I then posed this question to the group, "Which type of conversation is necessary in this situation?"  And, is Coaching appropriate?

It was concluded that the conversation required an approach which dictated the expectations of the workplace, one which acknowledged the condoned behaviours and an agreement of the facts and the course of action required. This conversation was at the opposite end of the spectrum where coaching starts. 

We can be ineffective as leaders if we don't use our time wisely, determining the necessary conversation and the appropriate timing - rather than wasting time and that of others. The spectrum of leadership conversations is vast and ranges from:

Dialogue - to understand

Discussion - to agree or disagree based on the understanding

Decision - to chose a course of action from the agreement/disagreement

Direction - to guide movement towards achieving an action

Dictate - to confront with facts and advise the course of action

Once you've decided on the purpose of the conversation, then it's time to consider the questions and commentary to drive it. Practise makes an effective leader!

When is your next 'time out'?

I jumped on the Melbourne Star yesterday with my kin. Slightly nervous (a slight fear of heights) however being such a glorious day and being one to take the odd risk or two I was easily coaxed with the excitment erupting from the kids!

And, what a gorgeous and exciting experience it was - Melbourne put on a show. We could see much further than I expected and it reminded me of 'the need to get off the dance floor and getting up into the balcony' - McKinseys shared this concept many moons ago and it still holds true.

When was your last 'time out' - specifically to view the world from a different advantage point to gain insight and learn what's really going on?

Here it is - sound advice: Block your diary - select a viewing spot (somewhere completely different to your usual workspace) take no devices, I suggest a pencil and notepad and go there. Think, reflect, feel, observe, replay previous events in your mind and gain some learning about your past. Then, consider a different/better/changed/improved approach to what you're doing and the route you're taking on your map.

Taking time out may even improve your dance steps!



With my kids!