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Mary Jo Asmus

Steve, great list! May I ever so gently add one thing? It's the one that I tend to forget most often, and the one that managers often forget too.

There needs to be a discussion of the barriers to whatever action the client or employee has committed to. The question might be something like, "What would prevent you from doing that?".

99% of the time, the answer I get back is "nothing", which is really cool. In which case, the question helps to cement commitment and prevent any backsliding due to unforeseen barriers. A manager who is coaching may discover that the employee has a barrier that could use some assistance from within the organization that they can help with.

Mile High Pixie

What I've learned from leading communication workshops and dealing with the interns in my office is to ask them two questions: "What have you done so far to remedy this?" and "What are you going to do about this?" The first question allows the person to help me troubleshoot the problem, and the second question forces them, if only for a second, to solve their own problem. Their responses to those two questions--which get asked only after a lot of other question asking and lots of listening--helps me come up with suggestions and a plan of action for that person.


It is critical to also discuss what they plan to give up. Whenever adding new goals (and then action plans), you need to make room for new activities and mindset - this requires coaching others to let things go. Growing in a professional setting is as much about letting go as it is about adding.

Rick Smith

Steve Roesler


Well, I posted a response via email according to the "new Typepad feature"; now, I find out that it didn't work and I've got all these comments hanging out here that I thought had been acknowledged. Argh.

No need to be gentle: it's a darned good question and liable to lead to another eGuide!

Steve Roesler


You're getting dangerous:-)

Those two questions have always seemed to me to be the key to good managing and coaching: teaching people to take responsibility on finding solutions to issues that they own. And, of course, if they need some help--as we all do--you've got the info to provide support.

Nice going.

Steve Roesler


I'm in with the "giving up" question.

Don't you find that clients often show surprise when you ask it?!

Chris Young

Great things to keep in mind when coaching, Steve. I've featured your post in my weekly Rainmaker 'Fab Five' blog picks of the week (found here: http://www.maximizepossibility.com/employee_retention/2009/10/the-rainmaker-fab-five-blog-picks-of-the-week-3.html) to help them improve their coaching skills.

Thanks Steve!

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