The Gallup organization indicates that organizations can address high rates of resignations by developing staff and making sure managers are well developed.

With proper development, managers:

  • Help staff grow in ways that support their desired development AND the goals of an organization,
  • Keep staff engaged in work that matters to them, and
  • Retain mission-critical talent in the organization.

One Strategy Organizations Can Engage in to Develop Managers

One way to develop managers (in addition to simply asking them how they want to be developed) is to develop coaching skills for them to provide opportunities. Coaching is a strategy that helps to bring out the best in each of us and it’s an extremely useful skill set for managers. Coach training is a great use of professional development dollars.

I’m a Manager (or a Director), Now What?

You do not need to wait for your job or rank in order get coaching training, even if you are a manager. You can develop them on your own. Developing coaching skills will likely increase your happiness at work. In addition, those you manage will be happier; they will experience more meaning in their work. People who are happy and who are doing meaningful work are less likely to leave their job.

In his book, The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More, & Change the Way You Lead Forever, Michael Bungay Stanier, shares seven core questions you can use to guide 1-1 conversations.

7 Coaching Questions to Push Employee Productivity

These questions can also be adapted for small group conversations and team meetings. The questions are as follows:

1.    Kickstart the Conversation with: What’s on your mind?

2.    Make sure you get everything on the table before moving on by asking: What else is on your mind?

3.    Next, ask: What’s the real challenge here for you? This helps them focus after they have opened up to all the things on their mind.

4.    Once they share the challenge, ask them: What do you want? This question helps them and you to focus.

5.    This might be a question you will want to skip but DON’T skip it. It always yields an interesting response: How can I help you?

6.    This may be the most important question (which you might also think about skipping – DON’T do it): If you are going to say yes to this, what do you have to say no to? You are likely to get a gasp from the individual (always a good sign of a great question) and then a response something like “that’s a great question.” This is a very important question given how busy and overwhelmed people are these days. We can’t keep saying yes to things without also saying no to other things.

7.    Finally, ask them this final question: what was the most useful part of this conversation? This question lands the learning for the person and often helps them see why whatever emerged from the conversation is important to them.

Tips For Using The 7 Coaching Questions to Push Employee Productivity

  • Practice makes better. These questions are simple and the step-by-step process outlined makes it appear easy; however, nothing is ever easy when engaging with another human being so it will take practice to get good at this. Keep trying.
  • Print or have the questions up on your computer before the conversation so you can refer to it if you get off track. You will likely get off track.
  • People often lead themselves through each of these questions in the order they are presented. This can happen without you even asking the questions. You will need to track with the person to notice if they have already answered a question before you asked it. You may want to officially ask the question to bring explicit awareness to the answer or you may want to move on to the next question.

My clients are happy because the answers to all the questions are coming from them.

The answers are within us!

I find coaching sessions to be more enjoyable and impactful by using these 7 Coaching Questions to Push Employee Productivity. I have become more engaged with my work and clients.

My clients are happy because the answers to all the questions are coming from them. When the answers come from within, the client is happy with the direction of the conversation and they are more likely to follow through.

A manager or director with coaching skills will help shine the light on our unique answers. They will help staff members be and do more that is aligned with their higher good and the higher good of the organization.

Want More?

If you want to consider more formal coach training, I recommend the following:

  • Co-Active Institute. This is where I did my coach training; the model works every time.
  • World Institute for Action Learning. This is for those of you who want to apply coaching to teams and who are interested in creating a learning organization. I know at least two public health folks trained in this method and they love it. They are great at it too!
  • International Coaching Federation. If you want to explore different coaching education opportunities, the International Coaching Federation is the website for you.

Your Turn

Do you have a coaching style or approach to your work? 

If so, what works for you? Feel free to comment below. 

If you prefer to reach out directly to me instead, you can email at