I’m going discuss pacy coaching; some people think that asking questions that enable a person to think through a solution for themselves is slower than telling people what to do. They are right, but only in the short-term.
In the long-term, however, telling people what to do does not develop their capacity to think for themselves, so they will keep coming back for advice, thus taking more of our time (and brain-power) rather than less. In addition, they may not take our advice, because it doesn’t fit their situation or their personality or the people involved. So it’s not quicker at all.
Asking questions rather than telling can still be pacy coaching, if, we are both clear on the problem that we are trying to address. Starting the coaching with a very clear contract about what the person wants to think about, where they want to get to and how they will know they have got there, will keep us focused on the matter at hand, rather than meandering around the issue. And if we do start meandering, we can re-contract to ensure that they are consciously choosing to explore a new track. We can only do that when we know what the original contract is and can ask them to compare where they said they wanted to get to with what they are actually talking about.
Go slow (in the contracting) to go fast in the coaching
We work with the time we have in coaching; and it’s surprising how far a person can get even in 10 minutes. The shorter time gives a certain amount of urgency in resolving the issue. We don’t need 90 minutes or two hours to make really good progress.
Any progress is good progress (as Teresa Amabile said)
And if we’ve asked good questions, the progress will continue long after the coaching is over, so that forward momentum will continue without us, the coach.
Pacy coaching – use less time to go further
We can also keep the pace by staying out of the way. That might seem counter-intuitive, that less is more. We may need to provide the odd nudge here or there, but silence will likely keep them thinking at their own pace, and the more succinct those nudges are, the further they will be able to go with their own thinking, rather than it being crowded out by ours.
Do less to get more
What else have you experienced that keeps the pace of coaching?