Quick (and possibly stupid) question about Coaching...

When we are brainstorming resources and come up with books, podcasts, ect. Should I be reading the books/listening to the podcasts along side my directs?  It seems like a big time commitment (when it is 4 different books and 6 different podcasts), but I know quite where to start with someone, discussing material I haven't read/listen to.  

 Any guidance?

mattpalmer's picture

The beauty of the MT Coaching model is that it *doesn't* require a big time commitment from you.  Consuming all of the same resources as your direct would make it practically impossible to coach a full team of directs and get any other work done.  So don't do that.

Instead, ask your directs to tell you about what they've learnt.  Recall that a key element of the coaching model (and, indeed, all assigned tasks) is that it isn't done until it's reported on, and the key to ensuring accurate reporting isn't just that people say "yeah, it's done" (when it might not *quite* be) is to have the results of the work made available to you.  In the case of reporting on coaching resources, my favourite style is to say "By the 32nd of Julember at 2pm, you'll have read the first two chapters of the book, and sent me and e-mail with at least 10 bullet points with the key things you learnt from your reading".  That way you learn the important bits *and* you don't have to do anything to chase up the status -- if the e-mail isn't there, then *by definition* the task isn't done.

mike_bruns_99's picture
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The MT slides and show-notes are invaluable. I will frequently send a podcast link to a direct, and say something similar to:

"Sally, I'd like you to listen to this podcast in the next few days. I feel it's just as important as your work on project XYZ right now. It helped me when I was in a similar situation. Let's talk about the topic in your 1 on 1 next week."

And then prior to the 1x1, spend the 3 minutes to review the slides to refresh yourself with the key points.


I know it doesn't apply to books, unless you have a good source for summaries.  And Matt, I'm going to use your technique for other resources. Great approach!

gpeden's picture

@NK - I would recommend the 'The Coaching Model Revised' casts for specific guidance as to if you need be learning the topics along side the direct.  The short answer is 'no'.  

@Mike - I understand where you are coming from, and I have found your approach less effective than just adding the 'what worked for me' into the mix during the brainstorming. If they pick my suggestion great, if not that is ok too.  Many of my directs don't learn the same way I do - and I am careful not to be too directive as far as the what/how/when.  Folks seem to be more enthusiastic about begin coached when they set the details of the coaching plan rather than getting directives from me. 

Another technique that I found effective is to suggest that the direct report out on the topic to the team as special topic in weekly staff.  This has improved presentation skills and the specific coaching goal topic - kind of a two-fer.



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