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Are you Coaching or Fixing?

Posted by Kristin Baird on September 24th, 2015 • No Comments »

Coaching is one of the most rewarding aspects of leadership. It’s very fulfilling to help others grow and reach their potential. But certain habits might be keeping you from being a great coach. “Fixing” is a habit that gets in the way of coaching. I’ve seen many leaders fall into the “fix it” mode instead of coaching or helping to guide critical thinking.

It starts out innocently enough. A staff member stops by your office to vent or even tattle. And with it comes the expectation that you will fix the problem.

Cy Wakeman, author of Reality-Based Leadership recently described this in an interview for The Voice of Nursing leadership. She says that most of the time, staff will bring unprocessed problems or issues to the leader and dump it in their laps. By employing SBAR, she is able to hold staff accountable for being part of the solution. SBAR is a communication method that helps staff members to efficiently and succinctly process the situation and efficiently communicate it. SBAR stands for Situation, Background, Assessment, and Recommendations.

When the staff member uses SBAR to explain the current situation, it keeps the discussion based in reality and requires them to make a recommendation. Without this objective approach, leaders may feel compelled to jump in and fix the problem. When leaders jump in to fix, they’re not coaching. When leaders “fix” rather than coach, staff quickly learn that they can dump problems on their leaders without owning any responsibility for finding solutions.

Catch yourself when you’re tempted to jump in and solve or “fix.” Be the coach, not the fixer. If you can master this, you’ll be building a healthier culture and a team of solid critical thinkers.

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Baird Consulting


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