Coaching Questions Solve Problems!

Posted on March 11th, 2019 by The DSWA

As leaders, it happens all the time....

A team member calls or emails with a question, problem or situation in which they are asking you for answers or advice.

Certainly, with our experience and training in the industry we are “qualified” to answer questions and give advice, right?
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In many cases, we see solving their problems and dispensing advice as our responsibility.

After all, in most cases, leaders earn overrides, bonuses, and incentives based on our teams sales.  Team building is the most profitable stream of income in a direct selling business so we assume it’s our job or in our best interest to fix whatever needs fixing.  Besides, as experience leaders, we’ve been in that exact situation before and know exactly what to tell them to do!

However, there is a huge difference between the activities that grow and the activities that grow our team members.

The difference is asking questions vs. giving answers.

Coaching Means Ask Questions Rather Than Giving Answers!

Asking questions has the power to make us think, create our own answers, and motivate us to take action on our ideas.   Asking moves us beyond just accepting what others say or tell us to do.

Questions honor those you work with and communicate their value as an equal.

You see, when we consult, advise, or mentor, we are the experts.  When we ask for insight or ideas, we become equal or peers.

Why Ask Coaching Questions?

So, what is the real advantage of asking coaching questions versus telling a team member what they should do?

Here are 5 reasons to ask instead of tell:

  1.  They Know the Situation Best.  No one knows more about the situation and how to solve a problem than they do!  All the information needed to answer a question or solve a dilemma lies within the person being coached.  They have firsthand knowledge of what, when, why, how and where.  Asking questions gets to the root of the problem.
  2. Asking creates buy-in.  In most cases, your team member knows exactly what they need to do.  The key to making lasting change is not in their knowing what to do, it’s being motivated to do it.  In my experience, people are more likely to follow through on an idea or solution if it’s their own idea or solution.  I can hand them an answer or solution but helping them create their own gets better results every time.
  3. Questions are empowering.  Self confidence is huge issue in making change or moving forward.  There is a powerful message in asking questions and in asking someone for their opinion.  Asking questions says: “I believe in you.  You can do this.  You have great input.”  The simple act of asking often empowers people to do/change things or move forward in areas they didn’t think they could prior to being asked about it.  Asking creates clarity and clarity facilitates growth.
  4. Asking develops independence. Asking team members “what” or “how” moves them away from being dependent upon you to provide answers.
  5. Questions build relationships.  There’s no greater relationship between people than that which is built on trust.  The simple act of asking questions and listening to answers allows us to truly “see” one another, going beyond the surface, to dig deep and create transparency. When we create transparency in a relationship, barriers are removed and we trust one another.

Here’s an example:

  • Team member: “I have this problem, what should I do?”
  • You: “Tell me, what solutions have already crossed your mind?”
  • Team member: “Well, I was thinking I could do __________ or _____________.”
  • You: “Great, which one of those solutions do you want to move forward on?”
  • Team member: “I think ____________ is the best way to go about it.”
  • You:  “Okay!  Sounds like you have a plan now.”
  • Team member:  “Thanks so much, I knew you’d know what to do.

It is better to ask than to tell.

Why Ask?  Why not  is the better question.

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About the Author

The Direct Selling World Alliance offers four types of Membership, each with customized member benefits to better serve your business and its role in the industry.

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