[MUSIC] Hello, and welcome to the final lesson in this module. In this video, we will review several tools that all coaches can use to have more effective conversations and coaching practices with their employees. In this video, you will learn several probing techniques for more productive conversations. Asking why? Asking the question so what? The resisting what is technique? Organizing your ideas by using buckets, observation, and finally the tell me where I'm wrong questioning technique. There's a lot to cover here, so let's begin. In this video, we will review several tools that all coaches can use to have more effective conversations and practices. Some of the tools include, asking why, asking the question so what, resisting what is, organizing your ideas by using what I call buckets, observation, and the question tell me where I'm wrong. So I think you know by now I've been doing coaching for a really long time and I've had the benefit of learning from some very powerful coaches. Martha Beck is one of those. Brooke Castillo is another. These are folks that have really helped me shape my coaching philosophy. What I'm going to be sharing with you today is not new. These are tools that I've learned from them and I'm sure are taught in so many other coaching schools and programs. I put these together because these are the ones that I probably use the most in my one on one coaching. So I thought it would be helpful to share those with you, as you think about how you're talking with, and asking questions of your team members. When we ask why as a coach, we not only identify the root cause of an issue. We also don't just play with what I call symptoms, right? We get to the heart of the matter, and we don't just get the easy answer. Five whys is a problem solving technique where it's layered. We ask why five times, so we help ourselves and our employees kind of get a clearer understanding of what the root issue is. So the first one I want to talk about is the most important question which is why. I have heard people tell me that you shouldn't ask the question why, people get defensive and they are uncomfortable with it. I don't necessarily agree. I think it's about how you ask the question not so much the question in it itself. But when people are especially having a hard time with the way that they're thinking about something, the question, why, can be really, really powerful. Many of us believe that there are very compelling reasons why we have to do things, say things, or finish things, or start things. And as a coach, your job is to help your employees kind of understand what their core thoughts are, that they're believing and how those thoughts are causing them difficulty. So for example, let's say we're coaching someone on our team and we say clearly you're not meeting performance expectations. Why do you think that is, they may answer with I don't know, I don't really know, I think I just was a lot harder for me this time around. And then the five whys can be applied by saying okay, so why was it harder for you this time? Well, I just wasn't really paying very good attention, and it felt like it was more complex what I was working on. Okay, and why do you think you weren't paying attention? Well, it just seemed harder, so I think I shut down. Okay, and why do you think that happened? Why do you think you shut down? Well, I just, I didn't know what to do. Okay, so when you don't know what to do, it sounds like what happens is you shut down. Why do you think that's what happens to you? You know what, I think it's because it's what I've always done. Okay, so maybe what we want to do is notice that the next time you feel like you don't know what to do, you should ask for some help. So the five whys kind of helps us peel back where the issue is. We can apply that to a customer issue. Hey, you had an issue with a customer yesterday, what happened? Why do you think that is? And they might say well, I thought they were being disrespectful. Okay, and why did you think they were being disrespectful? Because they didn't answer my questions and they were sort of rude. Okay, and why do you think they weren't answering your questions? Well, I don't know. Maybe I wasn't clear in my questions. Okay, and why do you think you weren't very clear? Well, I think it was because I was annoyed with them, and so therefore I was sort of not asking the best questions I could. Okay, so that's good for us to know, its good to know that if you get annoyed, that might actually be affecting how productive you are, effective you are with the customer. So how can we change that in the future? The wise question just helps us get to the root cause, which is what we want to get to. We don't want to just talk in sort of symptomatic issues. We want to get to the root cause, right? One of my other favorite questions is so what? Now we have to be really careful with this one because it can come across as sort of crass and rude and that's not my intention. I ask this question a lot. I'll be honest with you, I have people who tell me, well, I don't know what to do. I have this person on my team who's not performing and my gosh, it's so difficult. And so I'll start off by saying, okay, so what? What's the problem? Well, they're really hard to work with, okay. And then we can get into the whys. So why are they hard to work with? Well, they resist me all the time. They don't listen, okay. And why is that a problem for you? So, so what is, to me, sort of that benchmark question that kind of helps level everything. We're all very committed to what we think will happen or what we think people will think of us, or how we perform, and so many times employees will just say things like, I can't do that. If she does that, then it's going to make everything bad here. If I do this, everybody will frown on me in terms of my performance. It's never been this way. It's never been done this way. So, our employees and ourselves can be very committed to what we think might happen. And so, as a coach, you can be really powerful with them to ask them to question kind of what they're thinking by asking, so what? And then when you do that, you can also help them realize what they're telling themselves, right? So if I tell myself, my gosh, if I do that, I'm going to make a huge mistake. Okay, and so what's the problem if you make a mistake, why is that a problem? Well, I don't want to be embarrassed. Okay, and what's wrong with feeling embarrassed? Like tell me about what that's, right? There's so many things we tell ourselves will happen, and so that so what question sort of triggers us to get to what the real issue is, right? So we want to be really careful though with so what and not say if someone says, if I do that I'm going to make a mistake, and you say so what? It's really callous. That's not what that question is designed to be used as, it's really to be used as okay, no, you tell me so what, like, so you make a mistake and then what? Whats going to happen? Really think about it, not just sort of a crass way to kind of bounce back at them. The next technique I want to talk to you about is something that I call resisting what is, which I actually got from a work that Byron Katie does on loving what is. But we are asked and tasked to deal with change daily, and we have to roll out change as leaders. We have to manage that change. We have to manage team members through the change. There's also going to be many things that happen within organizations that managers and leaders have very little control over. A lot of times would half is in our minds. We do a lot of gymnastics about why things are happening, or why they shouldn't be happening, or why they should be happening, and that causes challenges for us, and so when we continue to resist was actually happening, we set ourselves up for being really unhappy and frustrated, right? And also feeling failure. So many of the employees you work with will be the same way. They're going to get stuck believing that things should be different than they are. And so as long as they stay stuck believing that something should be different than it is, they can't move forward. And I teach this a lot, that the very notion of finding a problem and wishing it didn't exist actually draws our attention to it and so then what we end up doing is giving all our attention to our problem, and not to the solution. So in essence we're resisting what is, we're resisting the current reality, even though it exists. So, it's like I say to managers when I coach them a lot. Managers will say, well, my employee isn't performing and they should be. I'm like okay, but they're not. Yeah, but they should be. But they're not performing. Yes, but they should be. We can do this all day, but they're not. So if we know they're not performing, now what do you want to do about it, right? Who do you want to be in this circumstance? But when we stay resistant to what's going on in the real world and in our real situation, it really gets difficult to find solutions. So as a coach, you're going to find that there's a lot of employees who are resistant to whatever's going on. They don't like the change. They don't like their new desk. They don't like the new system that's been put in place or their new phone system. And they get really, really frustrated and they kind of spin on it. It shouldn't be like this, it shouldn't be like this. But it is like this. So what do you want to do about it? Right? So really, really helping people recognize that they're resisting something that is outside of their control to change but what is within their control is who they want to be in this current circumstance, what else can they decide to think about it? What other solutions are available to them rather than just getting frustrated and resisting this current situation. The next technique that I use when I'm working with clients and also with employees is something that I call buckets. We all have different things that come up in our conversations. And sometimes employees come to you with a lot of concerns. And so sometimes these concerns come at you in your coaching conversations and there's like a lot of them. Years ago when I was talking to lots of these types of folks who had a lot of things going on, I found that they presented with me with to many things to sort of process, so I would start making kind of what I call buckets. And I would give them headers, so it might be, okay, relationship with a coworker, and then there might be another one which is time getting processing completed for a project. Another issue might relate to challenges with customer or my voicemail. I'm making it up at this point right, but you know what I mean. There's these buckets that employees bring to you. Some of them are things that you can fix. Some of them are things the employee has to fix. Some of them are things that we need to call someone else in to fix. And so, the way that I kind of help myself think through these challenges is I literally draw buckets on a piece of paper and I label them, and then I identify all of the key elements of each bucket with the employee. And then we kind of can isolate what it is really that first of all we want to focus on in each bucket or each area. And then we can put them in priority order. So it might be okay, we're going to deal with the customer one first, we're going to deal with the internal issue second. And then we're going to deal with this other one third. And that helps us both kind of calibrate what's on their mind, getting it on paper so that we can think about it and really sort it out and then determine how best to move forward. The next piece I want to talk to you about is observation. I really believe that observation is the absolute best tool that you have as a manager. I think that it is most overlooked and it is absolutely essential. So nothing replaces you being there and having the opportunity to observe your employee do their work. It's an extremely powerful way to get great insight into what's going on, how they're acting, how their efforts are, what their skill set is, and how connected they are to what the work is that they do. I had a conversation with a manager about this awhile ago. He had someone on his team who wasn't performing and I suggested, why don't you just spend a couple of hours with her. Take your laptop, go sit with her at her desk, because when you do, here's what you're going to find out, your going to find out first of all, does she even know how to use the system that you're asking her to use. Have her show you what she does, then you're going to find out little things like how often does she get interrupted by someone walking by her cube. How often does her phone ring. How often does her personal cellphone ring. How frequently does she check email. Does she get distracted by email? These are all things that you don't know about when you just meet with someone in your office one on one. But when you go to them, and you spend time in their environment, you get such a better sense of what their day-to-day work looks like. And oftentimes, it's not their ability to get the work done. And it may not even be their mindset. It might just be that there are a lot of distractions that are pulling them away. So, never underestimate the importance of, and the power of observing your employees working. Now a lot of managers resist this because they say there's not enough time, but honestly, it's the most important thing you can do. Especially if you're really dealing with someone who's struggling with performance. Give them some of your time, go spend it with them, and observe them in their work. And the last one I want to talk to you about is something called tell me where I'm wrong. This is a question that I ask people a lot. I'll give people a hunch. I'll share with them something I think might be going on, right? So I listen to a challenge that they're facing and I have a hunch that maybe it's because they're a little confused about the process, so they tell me everything they need to tell me. And I'll say to them, hey, you know what tell me where I'm wrong, but it sounds like maybe you're struggling with the process. What do you think? Now there's something that is very disarming about that question. Tell me where I'm wrong. First of all, I'm not making an assumption. I'm not telling them what I think is wrong with them. I'm just really asking, like consider this. Try this on for a second. So it's kind of a way to allow the employee to consider it without having to become defensive, right, what do you think? Does that make any sense? I like that question better than do you think you don't understand the process, because that's a yes or no. Tell me where I'm wrong, I'm thinking that maybe you don't understand this process as well, right? It's more of a conversation than an assumption and a directive. [CROSSTALK] The second one is so what? It's a question that we have to be careful with, because it can come across flippant, if we're not careful. But the intention is really just to help people connect with what they make something mean, right? So, I use it a lot with difficult people, when I'm talking to folks that they're dealing with that they believe are difficult. So, what is the problem? Why is it bad that they're doing that? So what about it, right, really asking that. Resisting what is, so many people I know argue with the facts. They argue with what's going on, instead of looking at it objectively and saying, okay, well this is what's going on, now what do I want to do about it, such a powerful thing to get insight on. Buckets, this is a way for us to parse out what we hear people say. So we might make a bucket for projects. We might make a bucket for communication with colleagues. What are we hearing our employees share with us as challenges? And then we make those into buckets. It makes it easier to figure out what to address. I can't stress the importance enough of observation. Being there, watching and observing your employees, and how they communicate, and how they face challenges, and how they negotiate their work. And how they use the systems and tools that are available to them. When you can observe people, you're such a better coach. So it doesn't mean you do it all the time, but it's such a power skill as a coach. And lastly, there's the question, tell me where I'm wrong. This is where you can offer up a hunch without it being an insinuation, it's really just you kind of wondering. Like tell me where I'm wrong here, but I'm sort of observing this, this and this, what do you think? They don't have to own it but it's a way to entertain a potential idea that they may not have thought of. Sso these are all really, really great power skills to add to your coaching toolkit and I hope they workout well for you, with your employees.