Every Friday, I‘ll answer two or three management questions submitted through the “Ask Lisa” link found on my blog and on my website. This week I will address two questions offered this week. If you would like to submit a management question for future Friday posts, click here.
QUESTION: I understand that coaching can be very powerful, but will I ever be able to get through to someone who is not seeking coaching and does not see the need to change? How much effort should I put into this? I want to help my manager succeed, but he seems resistant to my suggestions.
ANSWER: The bottom line is that it is frustrating and largely a waste of time to try to coach someone who does not want to be coached. For a great article on this topic, read this by esteemed coach Marshall Goldsmith.
Having said this, I think it would be interesting to try and understand why he is not being coachable. What's getting in his way? Here is a recent post that might help you determine why he is being uncoachable.
Perhaps an open conversation is in order here. Let him know that you would like to help him be more effective in meeting his goals and that you get the impression that he is not really interested in coaching. Invite him or her to read the coachability post.
Remember, too, that coaching most effective when driven by the person receiving the coaching - not the coach. Ask yourself if your goal is to coach him or if you are looking for a particular change (coaching is focused on helping him meet HIS goals). If the later, then maybe performance counseling is really what you are doing. Either way, try to focus on desired outcomes in broad terms and resist the urge to control how he gets to the results. We are all different, and this is a good thing!
One last question: Have you had this problem with other managers? If so, you might want to examine how you approach coaching. Coaching, counseling, advice, direction, and persuasion often get muddled. We think we are doing one thing when our employee feels he or she is experiencing something entirely different.
Good luck, please write back to let me know how it goes.
QUESTION: What is your favorite business book of all time.
ANSWER: Wow - that's a tough one. There are so many great business books. I can't narrow it down to one, but here are books I would put on the top of my list (not all are traditional business books):
In no particular order..
Beyond Boredom and Anxiety: Experiencing Flow in Work and Play - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Social Construction of Reality - Peter Berger, Thomas Luckmann
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen Covey
Execution - Larry Bossidy, Ram Charan
Stewardship - Peter Block
Liberation Management and Thriving on Chaos - Tom Peters
Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices - Peter Drucker
The Goal - Eliyahu Goldratt and Jeff Cox
The Fifth Discipline - Peter M. Senge
Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change - William Bridges
Out of the Crisis - W. Edwards Deming
Paradigms: The Business of Discovering the Future - Joel Barker
Flight of the Buffalo - James Belasco and Ralph Stayer
Skilled Facilitator: Practical Wisdom for Developing Effective Groups - Roger Schwarz
Maverick: The Success Story behind the World's Most Unusual WorkPlace - Ricardo Semler
How to Win Friends & Influence People - Dale Carnegie
Masterful Coaching - Robert Hargrove
Punished by Rewards - Alfie Kohn
I have selected these because they have made the greatest difference in evoking and provoking my thinking. Fascinating books all!