Are You A Fixer Or A Coach?
Recently, I’ve had conversations with business owners and leaders about the challenges they have helping employees solve problems. These conversations led to discussions on the difference between consulting and coaching, and what this means for leaders.
In simplest terms, consultants are often hired to help companies solve problems, and are brought in to provide answers to those problems. Coaches approach problems and challenges in an entirely different way; recognizing that most times, the client or employee already knows the solution but doesn’t see it.
As A Leader, Where Do You Stand?
Most leaders have a choice to make each day.
Consultant or Coach?
Fixer or Developer of People?
Two of the leaders with whom I spoke mentioned recent, specific instances when they acted as Fixers. Employees approached them with problems, and the leaders fixed the problem.
In our conversations, both leaders realized they do not want to be fixing problems, and don’t need to be a fixer. They understand their employees can grow much more when they act as a coach, not as consultant.
This is a powerful revelation for these leaders! Their change in behavior will greatly, positively impact their employees and their businesses!
Leaders Developing Strong Leaders
Leaders acting as coaches develop strong leaders who become more innovative and feel empowered.
Their employees grow in confidence and decision-making and they solve complex problems.
Employees who are coached are often more autonomous and feel a sense of mastery. Sure signs of motivated, engaged employees!
And let’s not forget some of the many benefits that accrue to leaders who decide to be coaches — They have more time to be strategic and focus on growing the business, they build leaders who can more meaningfully contribute to the team, they are more balanced, more productive and even can become more positive (and dare I say…happy?!).
So what to do? First step is to consider where you are on the consultant/coach continuum.
Signs that you might be acting as a consultant:
Listening with intent to fix the problem
Feeling like you know the best way to solve an issue
Telling your employee the steps they should take
Signs that you might be acting as a coach:
Listening with intent to help your employee address a challenge
Trusting that your employee can create a meaningful solution
Asking your employees what they think are the best steps to take
Like Donnie and Marie used to sing – we’re a little bit consultant, and a little bit coach (or something like that). In reality, we’re a little of both.
On which side of that equation do you want to spend most of your time?