"We've talked about helping your employee create a good mental picture for each challenging situation. And giving coaching advice is like solving a jigsaw puzzle, because every jigsaw puzzle is based on a mental picture.
Most employees have some mental image of the situation, so their puzzle is partially complete. They've got some gaps in their puzzle, and as their coach, you want to help them solve the puzzle, and you do that by asking questions.
That NERD model works well here. Remember 'NERD' is an acronym for 'Notice', 'Expect', 'Remember', and 'Do'. Ask the employee how they view the situation and focus on what they notice. If they're missing something, offer that advice.
Ask the employee what they're anticipating. And if their expectations are unrealistic, help them course correct. Ask the employee what their priorities are, the specific principles they remember, and if they're missing something, focus back on those principles.
Ask the employee what they plan to do, how they intend to handle the situation, and if they're missing something, propose a best practice for them to consider. It's tempting to just start giving advice, but that's a mistake because your advice may not fit the situation. You end up giving advice they already know. You want to coach to the gaps. You have to help them find the puzzle pieces they're missing.
You also want to build on the mental picture they already have and offer encouragement along the way. The only way to do that is to ask a lot of questions. When you take this approach, people often figure out what's missing on their own, and you don't have to carpet bomb them with advice."
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