I do not have time to Coach...

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One of the complaints I hear most often from managers who are learning how to coach is that they simply don’t have time for coaching sessions.

I don’t buy it!

Don’t get me wrong, the pressures of management can be overwhelming. Your office might be a buzz of staff that are perpetually dropping by and asking questions, your phone might not stop ringing with people wanting answers, and that’s before we even get to the over-stuffed in-box.

So I’m not questioning that you feel busy. The question is why are all these people asking you for answers? You have doubtless put energy into building up a team of staff that you can trust. The people you have employed are probably educated, intelligent grown-ups with a whole bank of creative ideas. Couldn’t they answer their own questions?

I’ve generally found that the answer is yes, they can. People go to their bosses for a whole raft of reasons. These reasons can include shirking responsibility for a risky decision, craving approval for your efforts, or venting stress about colleagues. If you create a system where your staff use you as a sounding board for all their decisions or niggles then of course you will quickly feel overwhelmed and never have time for coaching.

Your role as a leader is:

  • To choose a good team
  • To create an environment where your team can excel
  • To provide vision and direction
  • To firefight, but only if things go really wrong

Try to use coaching – or whatever other techniques work for you ­– to get your staff to take self-responsibility for making their own decisions. In the right environment, with the right boundaries, no staff member should need their boss to figure out the right course of action. Let people take greater responsibility for their own working lives.

This will leave you with more free time for the really important stuff. Then with all that free time you can do some coaching, build up a great strategy and – perhaps – leave the office on time for once!