When I started managing teams more than 6 years ago, I was obsessed with training people, teaching them any insignificant detail regarding their field of expertise, trying to teach people through my knowledge, through my experiences. Come on… let’s be honest, in those days, coaching was not even a fashionable word.
I was used to listen for just enough time to hear the question that was being asked, then I would look for an answer and spit it out, talking as long as it was needed for the person to understand the solution to his/her question. Talking, talking and talking. Forgetting about listening and helping people to think by themselves.
I was underestimating the power of people thinking by their own, what it requires much more time and patients, but I can ensure you that in my experience, it pays off.
Fortunately, it did not take me long to realize how wrong I was during those few months.
Training is important, do not get me wrong, but the basis of learning and growing as an asset for the company are based in coaching your people.
Coaching is listening and helping people to think by themselves. It´s based in dialog, not in questions and straight answers.
I know, sometimes it´s difficult to get a question from one of your mentees and restrain yourself from giving an straight answer when for you, the solution, is so clear. But trust me, it pays off if you sit with your mentees and talk about possible ways to solve the problem and guiding them to the solution they were looking for. In this way, the solution will stick in their heads and most probably, looking for that solution, will give them a better understanding in how to approach similar problems.
By coaching people, you help them become more self confident, with all the advantages that implies for the company, you and themselves.
Only using training you will have “robots” that get the job done, but coaching…coaching, you will have motivated people that grow as an important asset for your company.