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ARE YOU THE CHIEF PROBLEM SOLVER OR #1 COACH?

Have you ever felt like you’re the one that has to solve everything for everybody?

It can be exhausting, draining, and really eat into your time to get other things done. But, if you don’t ‘fix’ things, who will, right?

Once upon a time, I was a twenty-two year old Founding CEO of my organisation, and life was grand. I had a small, awesome team of people who were dedicated to serving their clients and worked well together. And I was relishing in building this team.  

I thought it was great that they would come to me with issues, concerns and problems, and seek my help to solve any challenge.  In fact, I loved it!!!

It felt so good to fix the problem, to get things sorted and done. And I always felt like my people really apprecitated how ‘helpful’ I was.

Until….one day – it didn’t feel so good anymore.

It felt  incessant, never-ending, and continuous. I started to feel resentful – ‘why can’t these people seem to get on with their job and solve these things for themselves?! Why do they keep coming to me for even the smallest of things? Things that are well within their scope, capability, and experience to solve?”

And do you know what?  It dawned on me, and I realised,  it wasn’t their fault. It was mine. 

I had taught them and rewarded them for this behaviour.  I had been disempowering them, stifling their growth and creativity. All whilst creating more work and less time for me to do the things that I needed to do to be a great CEO.

I thought that I was being supportive, a good boss. I thought it meant that I was approachable and available for my team.  But, it was too much.  It went beyond being supportive and approachable, to being unproductive and unhelpful to me, and my people.  It was not good leadership.

I needed to stop solving and start coaching. 

It’s a trap!

It can be a real trap for leaders to fall into believing that they have to be the one to solve all of the problems in their business. It’s also exhausting, draining, and really eats into your time to get other things done.

But, if you don’t ‘fix’ things, who will, right?

Here’s the thing…..You hired great talent, and have some really good brains trust in your team…if only you’d help them – and in fact sometimes let them – problem solve.

This is where some simple coaching techniques and questions come into play. And where you step into being a real leader, building the confidence, competence and capability of your people.

So next time a member of your team knocks on your door with a problem, that’s in their scope to solve, try asking them some questions to help them solve it, rather than jumping in boots and all and solving it for them.

“I needed to stop solving, and start coaching!”

Easy and effective coaching questions:

There are some really easy, naturally flowing questions you can use to coach your team members through any problem they bring to you: 

  • What’s the end goal here?
  • What have you tried?
  • What are the options?
  • What do you think is needed/would work/
  • What would happen if you went with your first option? what about the other options?
  • What else do you need?
  • What will you do?

And if they continue to say they don’t know……ask “what would you do, if you did know?”.

Coach your team

Why it’s a game-changer:

Coaching and using questioning techniques like this has a profound effect on your people’s skills and confidence.

It, also:

  • brings to the organisation diverse perspectives and innovations
  • gives you your time and focus back over the long term.
  • teaches them how to problem-solve in the future – take ownership and responsibility.
  • shows them that you won’t swoop in to save the day – they have to engage
  • They’ll feel supported by you, not brushed off

Experiment

Why not give it a go? Experiment with it and see what kind of results you get.

And if you do, don’t forget to be consistent with it over time and provide your team with feedback. Because if you were like me, you’ve probably trained your people really well to keep coming to you, so it’s going to take a bit of time for them (and you) to unlearn and re-learn new ways of being.

Let me know how you go…..

If you need help in building your leadership confidence, book in a complimentary session with me and we can discover what would work for you and in your business. Please get in touch.