I met some of the participants to this year’s first Solution Building – managers, coaches or trainers, people from whom I wanted to find out what they had gained in this program. What did they receive? What did they take for themselves? What are they giving forward?
(Phone interview with I.R., manager, banking, participant to Solution Talk)
I heard that, after the Solution Talk training, you implemented a solution focused program in your team. How did it happen?
I.R.: In the beginning I didn’t know much about coaching and mentoring and I was skeptical about this “solution focused” method. But I am constructively skeptical: I try, I research, I see how it works.
I had some “difficult cases” so I decided to try an internal coaching program, within the team itself. To see if it would work. My team includes both seniors and juniors, very different people, different ways of communicating.
I told them “Let’s try this.” I gave them time to think, make some research, we discussed, they all accepted. We have not become experts in coaching, but we are all searching.
I formed teams of two: one senior and one junior. These teams meet once every two weeks, with the question cards at hand and work on their objectives.
I wanted them to discover coaching both in theory and in practice. As a “secondary effect”, next to their individual progress on their own individual objectives, communication in the team has improved a lot. Not only do they communicate better when they have actual problems to solve, but also casual conversations are more positive.
How did the teams evolve? Where do you look for progress?
I.R.:The performance of the coach is reflected by the results of the coachee.
I was expecting better communication – I can see when someone has become more proactive, does not become blocked by problems. And I know this program was the trigger.
I put extremes together because I wanted them to be able to look in a different kind of mirror. I put together people who communicate a lot with very shy people. I wanted them to see each other in a different way than from the point of view of tasks. In coaching, the relationship becomes quite personal, they get to know each other and to know themselves better. It’s like going out for coffee and chatting, but better.
What gave you trust that this could work?
I.R.:Intuition – I have been their leader for a year and a half and I know them. I have tried other, different techniques as well. They all wanted to work on this, there was no resistance to change. I also knew they would like the theme.
What frame did you create?
The first week, I had talks with the future coaches, then we made the teams. We established a schedule for several months. I meet them regularly, the coaches and the coachees, to know where to make more adjustments. I keep myself connected to the project, in a supporting role.
How did you find the time for this?
I.R.: I told myself “management does not only mean KPIs”. Ten percent of your time should be spent doing something different. And we reached a higher efficiency of the team, so we actually saved time – I have results to present and I am glad about that.
What worked best?
I.R.: Listening. I was not expecting this to work this well. The key seems to be not doing things formally, but to really enjoy what you are doing. When you ask the questions with real interest and you listen, you really help the other person.