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Are You Listening?

Part One: Be a Coach to Your Team

April 10, 2020

Hey leaders! How are your employees doing right now?  

This is the question I ask during every executive coaching session I have. The next question I ask is, “How do you know?” Right now, we have to work harder to know. We don’t run into others casually in the office every day. We don’t spend hours with them face to face brainstorming, working through problems, or in conference rooms. We are relying on phone calls, video meetings, and email for our communication and our connection to our team members.

Recent engagement data has proven the strong link between open and transparent, two-way communication from leaders and fostering a meaningful sense of belonging and high engagement for employees.*  Helping your employees stay connected to you, each other, and your organization right now should be high on your priority list.  

Here’s a quick way to start. Below is a list of coaching questions to ask your direct reports during your next one-on-one. Your goal is not to have all the answers or solve all their problems. Your goal should be to simply listen openly, demonstrate concern and empathy, be a thinking partner, and help them work through how they are feeling, reacting, and focusing right now. 

As leaders, we need to focus on two skills right now that don’t always come naturally to us:
  1. We need to ask open-ended questions.
  2. We need to really listen to the answers.
 Coaching Questions to Ask Your Direct Reports
  1. How are you doing? How are you dealing with working from home? 
  2. How are you managing getting your work done? 
  3. What are you feeling best about? 
  4. What’s concerning or most challenging for you right now? 
  5. How’s it going working with your peers? Key stakeholders?  
  6. How do you think we are doing as a team right now? Anything we could do better or differently?  
  7. What about our communication? What is working best?  What’s not?  
  8. What do you need from me right now? 
  9. What’s one thing I could do better or differently to help support your productivity and engagement right now?  
  10. What other ideas do you have for better communication, collaboration, or productivity right now?   

Additionally, if your direct reports are also leaders with their own teams, you could ask them these questions.   
  1. How are you communicating with your team and organization?  
  2. How is that working? Are you getting upward feedback? Are you getting a sense of how the organization is performing and feeling right now? What’s clear to you and what’s not?  
  3. What are you noticing about how your team is working     Source:  Yahoo Images together right now?  
  4. How are your leaders/direct reports holding up? Anyone standing out as being especially strong right now?   
  5. Anyone you are worried about?  
  6. Is there anything your team/organization needs to hear from me right now?   
Are You Listening?  
Part Two: Run a Feedback Pulse Survey… coming next week   

 In order you hear, you have to ask. Understanding what creates engagement or more importantly disengagement is critical to having a high performing team. Newmeasures recently released their white paper with insights on the state of engagement generally. Check it out!!