Stewart Leadership’s Ask A Coach

The first step in making the most out of your business coaching is to make sure you’re asking the right questions. We get a lot of great questions from our partners, and now we’re letting you in on the answers!

Whether you’re already in a leadership position or working to get there, we’ve transformed our most popular Ask a Coach videos into your quick guide for professional coaching.

Ready for a more hands-on approach to your company’s coaching? Connect with us!

How do I manage conflict in a virtual work environment?
1. Be available and accessible. It’s amazing how a simple conversation can solve (and prevent) conflict. Sometimes, when we can’t see each other as much, we might not think about inviting the person we have a conflict with to a meeting or to talk through it. It’s important to be available to effectively talk through issues.

2. Identify what you agree upon, the end state, the final goal that you can reach together. Then talk about how to achieve it, such as we want to first and foremost delight the customer.

3. Approach potentially uncomfortable situations with a spirit of learning and curiosity instead of assigning blame.

What should I do when I feel stuck in something at work?
1. Reframe the perspective in which you view the situation. A great exercise to use is to identify the situation and then what are you thinking, feeling, and your actions related to that situation. Challenge yourself to think “How can I shift the way I think, feel, and act to promote a positive outcome?”

2. Reach out to others, not only to help you reframe but also to make sure that you do not feel alone in whatever situation you’re tackling.

3. Remember that you have a choice and you have options. Make sure that you do not feel like you are backed into a corner. You can always make a shift or start in a different direction.

How do I develop a strong executive presence?
1. Monitor your appearance. We’re not just talking about your hairstyle or outfit choice, but make sure you keep tabs on things like having appropriate lighting in virtual settings, or a meeting room that is consistent and supportive of the importance of the message that you have to share.

2. Determine what your decision-making process is. Are you a consultative decision-maker? Do you generally take a consensus? Identify how you make decisions and learn to be flexible to ensure you use the best strategy to boost the quality of the outcome, as well as making sure you consider those who will be impacted by whatever decisions you make.

3. Manage your emotions. As a leader, you are onstage. People look to you for a sense of confidence, and to be positive, especially during times that are challenging or stressful. Making sure that your emotions don’t control you and you maintaining an inspiring, yet realistic air in all your communication.

4. How do you inspire others? Do you encourage others to believe that they can accomplish the goals they’re tackling? How do you provide them with the skills and resources, and the encouragement and hope, to accomplish those solutions?

How do I build a trusting relationship with my team members?

1. Character: It matters who you are, and the level of care that you show to others, the level of empathy, the set of values and love that you extend to other people.

2. Competence: Your technical and professional ability to do your job well.

3. Consistency: Doing all these things not just once, but consistently
over a period of time.

These three elements—character, competence, and consistency—will be able to combine together to help you build a strong, trusting relationship.

How do I have a hard conversation at work?
Sometimes these conversations are challenging and it can be difficult to prepare. Ask yourself five questions that you want to to help you get ready for the discussion:

1. What is the objective behavior or situation you’re dealing with?
2. How has that behavior affected you, the team, the client or customer, and the organization as a whole?
3. What do you want to get out of the conversation?
4. What can be done differently in the future?
5. When will you have a chance to follow up, review progress, provide feedback, acknowledge development, and continue to improve the situation as a whole?

How do I create a strong self of well-being for my team?
1. Identify actual versus perceived expectations. Frustration exists when your understanding of expectations is significantly different than what someone else was expecting. Let’s align those expectations so that we can reduce frustration and anxiety.

2. Write out and set realistic, achievable goals. We want to help people feel good about the contributions that they’re making, and that when they come to work, they’re able to achieve what they need to and to feel good about it as they’re making a difference.

3. Champion accomplishments without any regret. We want to make sure that you avoid the tendency to wait for the big accomplishment, and then celebrate it. Celebrate people consistently as time goes on so they can see the difference they’re making.

How can I avoid being a micromanager?
Establish the “what,” but leave the “how” up to the individual. Your job as a leader is to be very clear about what needs to be done. However, allow the employee the autonomy as much as possible to decide how that work will be done. Once you start dictating the how, you are getting closer to micromanaging.

It’s also important to avoid surprise check-ins or follow-up moments. That “gotcha” feeling can cause extreme anxiety and make it hard for employees to succeed. Give them a sense of a schedule so that they can plan accordingly and feel as prepared as possible.

Praise more than reprimand. Find times where people are doing things right and call those out more often than trying to find times that people are making mistakes or doing things wrong. You’ll be able to create an environment of empowerment as you seek to find good things and progress.

How do I recover a fatigued team?
Albert Einstein once said “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you’ve got to keep on moving forward.”

There are three main ways we like to suggest for helping your team continually move forward:
1. Acknowledge the fatigue.
2. Cultivate relationships with each member of the team.
3. Build a sense of resilience in the face of conflict.

How do I hold my team members accountable?
1. Shift your mindset. Even the question, “how do I hold others accountable?” is actually not the correct way of thinking about it. A more effective way of thinking about it is, “How do I create an environment where people can hold themselves accountable, where people can feel a sense of responsibility on their own, and I as the leader am creating the environment in which they can do that?”

2. Realize your job as a leader is to provide clarity, provide clarity for the expectations that they need to and define what success looks like.

3. Measure progress so that people have a sense of where they’re at and meeting those expectations. What progress are they making? How much further do they have to go?

4. Coach to individual behaviors. Provide ongoing feedback so that people can learn and develop and have a sense of what they need to change or shift, do more of or less
of, so that they can then hold themselves accountable.

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