Two of the common things I hear when it comes to resistance to coaching is ‘coaching is too hard’ and ‘I don’t have time for coaching’!
Now the first statement is easily answered for me by considering what Sir John Whitmore once told me ‘coaching is not hard, coaching is easy, it’s changing the habits of telling and directing that is hard’. And it’s true. Asking questions and listening and the other skills of coaching are all not hard, it’s changing the habits that we have built up over many years that takes the time and perseverance.
Thinking then about the second statement, I don’t have time for coaching, my questions back in response are always ‘what do you mean by coaching?’ or ‘what part of coaching?’
What I am trying to do is to understand what is that person’s definition of coaching or what in particular are they referring to, that they feel is so hard or that they don’t have time for.
Because if it’s a question like ‘what are you trying to achieve?’, well that’s not hard at all and it takes about two seconds to ask (no time at all!)
If it’s asking that question first rather than just jumping in with the answer, now we are potentially talking about changing habits. That can take more time and for some, it is really hard!!!
Most commonly, what managers don’t have time for is to wait for the person to come up with the answer themselves, because they think it takes too long!
Do you know in a recent program that I facilitated, I was testing how long it took participants before they jumped in after asking a question and most couldn’t wait or pause or sit in silence for even ten seconds. Ten seconds was like a life time – most jumped in after a pause of 5-6 seconds!!!
The ‘I don’t have time for coaching’ comment is one that I find hard to accept. So let’s think about it another way…and stick with me on this….if part of your role as a manager is to help people grow and develop, and one of the ways you do that is by coaching them and having them find their answers, problem solve and take responsibility…then if you say you don’t have time for coaching, isn’t that just like saying I don’t have time to grow and develop my people?
Managers won’t admit that they don’t set aside the time to grow and develop their people, so they simply say ‘I don’t have time for coaching’.
Just some thoughts…enjoy your coaching!