Thursday, August 6, 2009

Why ask why

My New HDTV!Image by ASurroca via Flickr

A guest post from Shameka Jiles, a student at RIT in the the class of Steve Boese.

I recently shadowed a manager of a company that I will leave unknown.

While with him I sat in on a coaching where I question was his approach effective, would like to know your opinion. The employee was fairly new to the position and handled a request from a guest to hold a television that was on sale for two days only for 72 hours.

Policy of the company is only a 24 hour hold is allowed and only for regular priced items. The employee told the guest she could put the TV on hold and the guest left to only come back 3 days later and the TV being gone.

During the coaching there was a lot of the use “why” “why did you do it”? “Why did you think it was policy”? I

felt like asking these questions was not going to get to the bottom line because obviously the employee did not know these answers. In my opinion the better way to approach the coaching would be to advice the employee of the policy and make sure she understood for the future.

What do you guys think?

HR peeps, share your thoughts with Steve B.'s student. What should this manager have done to improve the coaching?

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  1. In your scenario above it would have been more effective if the manager used a technique called SBI (situation, behavior, impact). Describe the situation you are coaching about, be specific to the employee's behavior (acknowledge employee's willingess to be helpful to customer AND point out the store's policy), give feedback on the impact to the customer, the store's reputation, and management. Check for understanding by asking open-ended question. Finally, the "why" question coupled with tone and body language will often put people on defense and not be a in a place to listen fully. pattie porter aka The Texas Conflict Coach @txconflictcoach

  2. Thanks Michael for hosting this post from Shameka. I expect that Shameka will get lots of helpful suggestions from your readers, once again demonstrating one of the key points of this project, how blogs can be utilized for professional development and 'real world' assistance for workplace issues. I really appreciate the support, and nice job Shameka.


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