Workshops and Ah-Ha Moments
Workshops often offer new perspectives, memes, quotes, and ideas. A couple of statements brought Ah-ha moments during a recent workshop:
Managers Organize Reality, Leaders Create Reality
You cannot take people to places you yourself are not willing to go
I was honored to be doing a ½ day workshop for Prison Fellowship this month and the topic was introducing a coach approach to their leadership toolbox. These two statements got head nods, note-taking, and hand-raising for questions.
The acknowledgment that all managers and leaders are dancing between organizing current realities while creating new realities, due to consistent and imminent changes, brought interesting questions of how to tell which is which in everyday life. My reply…’You ask!’
Which brought us to the topic of how to ask, when to ask, how to initiate that ask, etc. This is where I have found the ASK Framework extremely useful.
Helping each leader use a tool to have better conversations does take practice though. No different than flexing a new muscle during a workout. It can feel initially easy, then hard and clunky, then - as you get stronger - you have more finesse - and the conversations get richer.
This is where workshops are key. Allowing people to practice new techniques in-person drives home how useful this framework can be. Asking questions instead of simply offering statements provides a more expansive environment for exploring better solutions. By introducing the concept of asking better questions, the question came up concerning whether people would answer questions or shut down. That depends on two things - the question being asked and the trust they have in the person asking.
Which brought us to the understanding that when they are asking people to answer questions more authentically - you may be asking them to be more vulnerable than they are comfortable. Remember - you cannot take people to places you yourself are not willing to go. This produced some head-scratching and requests for examples.
The best example is managing and leading a remote team whose members have stretched themselves thin by caring for elderly or young kids, while trying to be productive, while losing the day-to-day human connections from simply being in coworkers' presence.
Unless you ask them to share what life is like through their personal experience AND YOU LISTEN - they will not trust that they have been heard and understood. When people feel heard, only then will they believe you are capable of asking questions worth answering.
I offer these same tips and topics in my weekly coaching tips so if you haven’t already, please sign up to receive new coaching tips straight to your inbox that you can put to use right away.
If putting a workshop together to re-integrate your remote workers as a team is an appealing activity - even if they will continue to spend the majority of their time working remotely - please shoot me an email. I’d love to support your leadership.
For those who have realized that times have produced enough new challenges that you are ready to explore a coach as a partner on your journey, please explore our coaching membership. This membership is designed to let you step into coaching on a month-to-month basis, without a long-term contract, and tackle the things that challenge you the most right away.