Categories
Coaching Leadership

Make your choice

I recently joined a webinar discussing Effective Engineering Leadership. One of the questions was around remaining current as an Engineer when making the change to a management role.

My advice here is to think about the job that you want to do, and focus on that. You need to make a choice between the Individual Contributor role and the People Management role, as they are different jobs with different skillsets.

You can trial one or the other for a period of time, but if you try to do this for a long time, you’ll just end up doing two jobs badly, which is not a great outcome.

On either path you can still be a leader, and in fact that’s expected as you progress and grow your career. Good organisations will support this and have development paths for both tracks. Bad ones will force their best ICs to management. Choose where you want to focus your efforts!

Nothing is also a choice, but in your career doing nothing and just drifting along is likely not a good one.

So pick a role, understand it, learn the skills you need to be successful and deploy them. Don’t do two things badly.

Categories
Coaching

This or That?

A few days ago, I was observing a coaching practice session. The coachee was very generous, they would answer any question with a long and extremely complete answer. The coach was keen to probe into these answers and focus on the areas that were most important to the coachee.

“Do you want to do this or that?” – A common mistake from a novice coach trying to bring focus to the conversation.

When you use this approach, you are limiting the coachee to a couple of options that you have selected, and you are using your words to channel the conversation.

Imagine you ask the coachee “Do you want to go left or right?”. You have closed off the possibility of them continuing straight ahead, pausing for a while or maybe even turning around and taking another route!

When you present a binary choice, then the usual answer is one of those options, even if that wasn’t the best choice for the coachee, or it loses a lot of nuance in the answer.

Instead, gain the focus you seek by asking the coachee to tell you what’s most important to them. You can summarise back the various options they’ve provided, and use words like specific or one to build the focused response.

  • Which one of these is most important to you?
  • What specifically is the area you’d like to focus on?
  • You’ve mentioned five things, which of those is your top concern?
  • If you could only change one of these, which would it be?

All of these questions leave the power with the coachee to choose and provide the focus. You haven’t forced them to a particular channel, but you will move the conversation forwards!

Categories
Coaching

Recognising Choices

There is always a choice available to help you achieve your goals.

It might not be obvious to you, but it’s definitely there.

If you can’t see a way forwards, think about doing nothing. If you don’t change things, will you still get closer to your goal, or are you moving away from it?

How does that make you feel? If doing nothing is a good choice, maybe you need to revisit your goals, be more ambitious or find something else to chase. Nevertheless, nothing is a choice, and it’s a valid one to consider.

Once you’ve looked at nothing, wave your magic wand and cast aside everything that’s stopping you or holding you back. Does it make you feel awesome, energised and engaged. If it does, then this is a great goal.

Look at those things you’ve cast aside, discounted or stepped around. Which of them can you envision tackling successfully. What’s the smallest step, easiest or most valuable thing to do? Answer this, and you’ve just opened up a whole set of options to consider and choices you can make.

There is always a choice, you just need to recognise what it is. Empower yourself to make decisions and you’ll have a path to positive and long term change.