Before I started coaching as a professional I had proper jobs. In one new role, I tried the coaching approach that had been successful elsewhere and I asked questions. The top team members provided answers, but I soon got the sense that they were the ones they thought I wanted to hear rather than the ÔÇ£rightÔÇØ ones. The conversations soon began to seem like inquisitions, both to me and to them, and it became a challenge not to ÔÇ£tellÔÇØ instead of to ÔÇ£askÔÇØ.

On reflection, I realised that change would depend upon my behaviour. My questions were not generating the responses I needed not because the answers were wrong, but because I was asking the wrong questions.

I had to be clear about my goals, ensure they were congruent with the organisationÔÇÖs aims, and communicated in a way that recognised the perceptions of the team, individually and collectively. Soon, they knew what I would ask and tailored their efforts and priorities to those questions, cascading the approach down through the organisation. With everyone feeling a co-author, success was shared and enjoyed by all.

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