Executive Coach Executive CoachExecutive Coach
Scott Eblin offers his take on lessons in the news and his advice on your pressing leadership questions.

Let Them Think Out Loud

ARCHIVES

A few days ago, I got a call from a coaching colleague who was looking for some advice. He’s been working with the top executives of a company and has developed strong relationships with each of them. The challenge is that those executives are sorting through some disagreements with each other and each of them is confiding their points of view in my friend, the coach.

Understandably, he was growing concerned about being in the middle of a multi-party dispute. He asked me what I would do. Instead of answering, I asked him what he thought was important in this situation. He was very clear about that. I then asked him what he wanted for himself and the people involved. He was very clear that he wanted the best for everyone. Then I asked what he thought he should do. He immediately said he should talk to each of the individuals to let them know that he was getting perspectives from their colleagues as well but that all of those conversations were solely between him and the executive he was talking to. His job was to be a sounding board.

At different points in our conversation, I repeated back to my friend what I heard him saying to confirm clarity before we moved on to the next question. The entire conversation took about 10 minutes.

Yesterday, he sent me an email to let me know he had had the conversations, that they went well and that each of the execs expressed their appreciation for his support and transparent approach. He signed off by thanking me for my advice. I wrote back that all I had done was told him what I heard him saying. In response, he more or less said, “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

Most of the time, your people know what to do even if they don’t realize they know.  Most of the time, you don’t need to give them an answer, you just need to give them an opportunity to listen to themselves think out loud.

What kinds of questions would you ask to encourage a team member to answer their questions through thinking out loud?

Executive coach Scott Eblin’s goal is to help you succeed at the next level of leadership. Throughout the week, he’ll offer his take on the leadership lessons in the news and his advice on your most pressing leadership questions. A former government executive, Scott is a graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and is the author of The Next Level: What Insiders Know About Executive Success.

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.