Today's post looks at seven elements which makes a one-on-one really effective.
1. Listening - In a one on one conversation it is important to be listening on a number of different levels - from noticing body language and alignment with what is being said, to really seeking to understand and hear what the person is saying. So often in leadership conversations we are thinking about how we are going to respond and what will we say next that we fail to listen deeply. What do you notice about how you l listen in one-on-ones? What changes would you like to make?
2. Focus - We don't always have a lot of time in a one on one conversation so creating a focus for our time with our staff can be important. You may ask questions such as "What would you like to get out of our conversation today? OR "What would be a useful takeaway?"
3. Minimize Distractions - Creating a pause point can be easier in some contexts than others. Consider how you and your staff can minimize distractions during your 1-1s. This might include turning off your phones, moving the conversation out of the office or to a different floor. What will minimize distractions for you?
4. Use powerful questions - Powerful questions invite people to explore, expand or sometimes focus. Powerful question are open ended questions, inviting the staff you are talking with to elaborate and share their ideas. We can build trust by asking great questions to our staff and giving them time to speak and share. Note that WHAT questions are usually the most "powerful" in opening up the space for dialogue. WHY questions in low trust can put people on the defensive.
5. Suspend judgement - It is important to note how and where our judgements are surfacing and how even subconsciously our bias can come through. What do you need to do to become neutral or as unbiased as possible in your one-on-one calls? What happens when you are able to do this?
6. Watch body language - In face to face conversations body language can make up more than 50% of the message. What does your staff's body language say? How does this compare to what is being said?
7. Create an action plan - One of the reasons why I chose to do more training and have a focus on coaching almost a decade ago was because coaching focuses on having a "Conversation with intent" and having a specific action plan which we can loop back on. In your one on ones what are the next steps for the staff member? How will you check in together around these next steps?
What opportunities do you have coming up around one-on-ones? What notes do you want to make for yourself about important things to keep in mind?
Have a great Thursday,
Potentials Realized - Leadership and Team Development, Coaching, Retreats
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)
Email us to find out how we can support you and your team in getting your best results through coaching, training or a retreat program