51: How to be the Champion of Coach Like Behavior

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Michael Bungay Stanier joins HR Studio Podcast for Part 2 of our conversation on coaching and adopting coach like behaviors. Be sure to listen to Episode 50: How to Shift to a Coaching Culture if you missed Part 1. In this episode, Michael shares insights into why managers resist coaching, how to overcome their objections, and how to build coaching habits in your organization. He outlines three dysfunctional organizational roles and the one that HR tends to play to its detriment. He’ll share his tips for avoiding the “Drama Triangle” and adopting more ‘coach-like’ behaviors.  
Michael is the founder of Box of Crayons, a company he started in 2002, which is best known for teaching managers how to do ten-minute coaching to build stronger teams and get better results. Michael has authored several books including The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever which has sold almost 400,000 copies and is the number one coaching book on Amazon. Michael also authored Do More Great Work, and some of his writings have appeared in Business Insider, Fast Company, Forbes, The Global Mail and the Huffington Post. But it has not all been glorious. He was banned from his high school graduation and sued by one of his Law School lecturers for defamation.
Listen (above) or watch the video (below) to catch Fred's interview with Michael.

Key Learnings From This Episode

  • How HR professionals can be more effective in their day-to-day coaching engagements. Many people listening already understand coaching and wish other people in their organization were as excited about it. Coaching is often viewed as an HR initiative along with other HR roles (e.g., compensation and benefits, etc.). HR is so much more than that. HR is one of the driving forces in building the culture, and culture ‘eats’ strategy for breakfast.  So how do you champion coaching?  
  • Why is it so hard to get traction to have managers and leaders be more coach like? Start by understanding the points of resistance. The first thing managers say is, ‘I don’t have time for coaching. I am so busy’. Managers believe they have to have one-hour sessions to ‘do’ coaching, and they just don’t have the time. 
Managers should be taught that coaching can be done in ten minutes or less. Some will say, ‘I still don’t have time for coaching. Where am I going to squeeze that into my schedule?’ The response should be, ‘You are right, you don’t have time, you cannot add coaching to your space, but think of coaching not as an addition to what you are doing but as a transformation of what you are currently doing. Think about changing what you are doing to be more coach like’. Many managers say they don’t want to be coaches. There are many coaches in HR coaches, life coaches, etc. They are right. You don’t want them to be a coach. You want them to be more coach like. 
Box of Crayons’ Definition of Coaching: 
Coaching is a behavior
Can you stay curious a little bit longer
Can you rush to action and advice-giving just a little bit more slowly?
  • Most people, even HR people, are advice-giving maniacs. For managers to engage in coaching, they want to understand, ‘what’s in it for me?’ Coaching lifts their game – it improves engagement and productivity, it elevates the culture, and it drives money to the bottom line. But, ‘what’s in it for me?’ The benefit for HR and line managers of being more coach like allows you to work less hard but have more impact.  
  • How to help people build new habits so they can be more coach like? It is not enough to know and understand a coaching model. Coaching models are intriguing for HR and coaching professionals, but the focus is not on models. The focus is on behavior change. So much of ‘soft skill’ training is about behavior change. It is the only metric that matters. Regardless of what you are teaching, think about people in your organization and how your training will build new habits and change the way they work. 
The first chapter of The Coaching Habit addresses how to build new habits. Download the first 3 chapters free of charge. When you build behavior change into the work you do, allowing people to do things differently, you shift the culture. You want people to self-define 2-3 new habits. You cannot prescribe habits for people. People need to understand the mechanics of habit building. If I’m striving for this, this is the habit that will get me there the fastest.
  • Where do some of the good intentions go astray? What are some of the obstacles? The Drama Triangle, discussed in Michael’s book, was developed by Stephen Karpman and is based on the ‘parent, adult, child’ social model. Karpman studied under Eric Berne, the father of transactional analysis (diagramming how participants switch roles in conflict). ‘Parent, adult, child’ language does not work in organizational life, but when things get this dysfunctional, Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer roles do apply. 
  • The Victim, The Persecutor, and The Rescuer. We all have default roles we like to play: 
    • The Victim – whining, complaining, ‘it’s not my fault’ 
    • The Persecutor – finger wager, blamer, micromanager, ‘I’m surrounded by idiots – it’s amazing I can get anything done’
    • The Rescuer – this sounds better than the other two, but is just as dysfunctional – ‘I’ll jump in, I’ll fix this, I’ll solve this, give this to me’.  
While we tend to bounce around all three roles, everyone has a default role they like to play. For most people, especially HR people, that role is The Rescuer. When you ask people, ‘how is that working for you?’ they say, ‘it’s terrible, I’m exhausted, I’m frustrated, and I’m burnt out’. Rescuers perpetuate the Drama Triangle, so Rescuers create Victims, Rescuers create Persecutors.
  • How do you get out of the Drama Triangle to have more adult relationships with your co-workers? Being more coach like is one of the key ways to shift out of the Drama Triangle. You never quite escape it, you are always being dragged back into it. The goal is to realize you are in it faster, get out of it more quickly, and stay out of it longer.  
  • Michael’s advice to HR leaders who want to try this out. Try picking up one new habit.
    • Who do you want to build this habit with?
    • Pick a person and pick the situation you want to try to change. It might be a team meeting, maybe when you bump into them in the hall, or maybe it’s when they shout at you from three cubicles down the hallway and you think, ‘that’s the moment, that’s the habit I want to change’.
    • Pick your question – when this happens, and so and so does this, instead of my doing this, I will be more coach like by . . . . 
Pick one person and one situation. You will get better at this one step at a time.

Recommended Reading and References From this Episode

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Michael Stanier Bungay HR Studio Podcast Show Notes - Episode 51
Michael Stanier Bungay HR Studio Podcast Show Notes - Episode 51
Tuesday, March 27, 2018 - 8:00am
HR Consulting
Fred Bunsa
Michael Bungay Stanier
HR Studio Podcast