Stop to think about how much of your work would ever be accomplished without communication or conversations. The answer is quite obvious: very little! With so much of our work depending on our conversations, a valuable question to ask is: How am I running my conversations?
If you were to look back on a given workday or work week, and recall all the conversations you had initiated or been a part of, might it feel and sound like you have been running a “talking triathlon” that was exhausting for you and your team. If you’re like most leaders there is likely room to improve and to run your conversations more efficiently, more effectively and with more focus.
A positive, effective, and impactful manager considers themselves (or at least desires to be) a coach to their team – someone who runs conversations that instill confidence, increase engagement, and motivate those they work with.
The research is compelling: running higher-quality coaching conversations is one of the most impactful activities a manager can engage in to improve the performance and success of their team.
Whether you consider yourself a coach or not, here are just a few things you can do to immediately run your many conversations as more effective coaching conversations which, you will discover, opens up communication and allows strong, healthy, and trusting relationships to flourish.
1. Run conversations on purpose with a purpose. Begin with the end in mind and have a clear goal.
2. Run your conversations with open ended questions that allow and encourage the other person to explore their personal knowledge base and experience and generate their own solutions.
3. Run your check-in or feedback conversations by asking simple questions that invite the other person to share their insights and perspective first. (Example: What’s working with respect to the key client project you are heading up?)
4. Run every conversation with any person at any time on any topic with the belief that they have the capacity to learn and perform at a higher level.
These four things will go a long way in helping you run your conversations more efficiently, more effectively, and with more focus. At the same time, they will open up the communication between you and the people you work with (or live with!). You and your team will feel less exhausted (from all those talking triathlons), and your team members will be more engaged and motivated which, at the end of the day, raises performance!