Why context is everything when you need to coach up!

Here’s a scenario to get you thinking about how to use your coaching skills to ‘influence’ your boss!! You’ve developed an idea you think will provide a great opportunity to boost sales and run it past your boss. They listen and thank you for your idea but let you know they don’t see things that way, so they won’t be taking it any further.  In this situation, what would you do next?

Even though I’ve just used one, I don’t like these scenario-based questions.  Why? Because we’re missing the most crucial element to help us work out what to do. CONTEXT.  For example, knowing the process you’ve gone through to develop your idea and how you presented it based on what you know about how your boss is likely to respond.

I like to think something all the way through and I’ve learned (still learning!) this can lead to my ideas feeling like a fait accompli when I do share them.  While this can work really well, it’s not helpful if you want someone to feel part of the solution (or that it was their idea!!)

So faced with the context above, I would need to unpick the steps I‘d taken to develop the idea (let’s say there was 10 steps), think about what I’ve learned from previous interactions with my boss and if I thought they would welcome being part of the solution, I will start at step 3 or 4 and use very specific coaching questions to include them as we work towards step 10 TOGETHER – probably making the idea even better in the process.

Being able to understand the subtleties of context, and having the skills to adapt your approach, is crucial as you prepare for coaching up conversations – do you have these skills in your locker?

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