Do your managers look for teachable moments in their day to day managerial experiences? Here are examples of what I mean by teachable moments:
- The same problem shows up…the details vary, but the underlying problem is there.
- Someone who is well intentioned fails to anticipate the impact of their actions which results in conflict.
- Context is missing and that results in solutions not big enough to effectively address a problem.
Do these sound familiar? These situations are ripe with teachable moments.
Unfortunately, some managers are quick to jump in to save the day (it seems faster) instead of helping people develop and use critical thinking skills or even just take time to think strategically about a problem that occurs regularly.
Instead of putting a bandage on the problem or giving advice…managers can use questions to redirect attention to learning better ways of solving problems.
Use Questions as Change Management Tools
Here are seven learning prompts to use in teachable moment conversations. These questions lead to reflection, discovery and they facilitate experiential learning. When situations like those described above arise, the manager can ask:
- What do you notice?
- Does that happen a lot?
- Why do you think it happens?
- Where else (or when else) does something similar happen?
- How will you use your observation?
- What do you need to know next?
- What will you change?
Once a manager tries these out, they should develop their own, more relevant questions. These are examples that illustrate the concept of using discovery questions to spark learning that leads to authentic change.
Good Coaching Facilitates Change
Coaching is it’s own skill set. Unfortunately too many associate coaching with simply giving feedback.
Feedback doesn’t go far enough to break the cycle in the teachable moment scenarios described above.
Successful coaching works best when it stimulates an employee’s self directed learning. With self directed learning, people are learning to solve a problem rather than revert to familiar well worn paths that just don’t work anymore.
They develop the capacity to think through a variety of contexts and conditions and consider the bigger picture.
Learning to effectively use open ended discovery questions is a core change management competency.