As a coach I often find that people see coaching as a process to focus on weaknesses and fix faults. Yet researchers have shown that understanding and leveraging strengths is one of the most powerful ways to build both confidence and performance. If building confidence and a ‘can do’ attitude is one of your goals we have a series of positive questions that you can use as a manager or coach to get your people focussing on their strengths and what is already working well.
During coaching conversation I sometimes find that coaching is seen as a process to fix or neutralise weaknesses. People can be less willing or comfortable talking about their strengths and what they already do well. Yet extensive research (Zenger Folkman) has shown that understanding and leveraging our strengths can be one of the most powerful ways we can build better performance. If building confidence and ‘can do’ attitude is one of your goals we have a series of positive questions that you can use as a manager or coach to get your people focussing on their strengths and what is working well.
By asking positive questions, a coach can influence the type of answers that they are given. It is difficult for the person to answer them without first talking about what really worked, what went well and how they made a valuable contribution to a project or task. This is an especially valuable approach when you recognise the need to build confidence, encourage a positive approach to the next task to be undertaken and in identifying whether the ‘Will’ to complete the action is truly present.
Here are some useful positive questions to draw upon in your next coaching conversation:
- What has gone really well this week?
- What was it about you that brought about that success?
- What have you achieved that you’re proud of?
- How do other people recognise the value of the work you’ve done already?
- What ideas motivate you?
- How will this piece of work help you express your individual talents/skills?
- How do the needs and expectations of other people draw out the best in you?
- How might you use the insights about yourself to develop a really motivating action plan?
- Which situations are you most confident in?
- Which situations draw out the best in you?
- How will this enable you to contribute positively to the development of others?
- What are you most pleased with about the progress you’ve made?
- What can you learn from that experience which will help you excel in the future?
- How would you describe your unique contribution/ skills?
And of course these questions don’t need to be restricted to a coaching discussion. They can be used to great effect as part of a team meeting to ensure that the positive learning from the team is shared and built upon. They build energy and a ‘can do’ attitude which is far more likely to result in strong performance.
On a final note, you may not have a coach to ask you these questions but it could be well worth investing the time to ask yourself these questions so that you can capture the positives of your achievements and maintain your own confidence and energy to tackle the next challenge that most certainly will lie ahead!