11.03.11 Tip of the Week: Show the Path

…It Honors People

Earlier this week, I was coaching a senior level executive who is quite talented in her profession. Her Achilles heel, she explained, is that “people just don’t get it when I explain something.”

Through a lot of questioning, I discovered the reason. She often jumps to the end of her thought path without leading her team there. She assumes she is speaking to people at her same knowledge level and that they are as familiar with her thought process as she is. When she finally looks up to see if they are with her, they are so far lost that they really aren’t “getting it.”

Showing your path requires a sincere level of commitment that your audience sees the situation the way you see it. However, their only chance of seeing it from your frame of reference is to teach it to them at their level of comprehension, NOT yours. You have to remember that YOU know where you are leading them…but they don’t. And if you take short cuts, you run the risk of getting to the end but being there alone. The patience and empathy required to show them your thought path will be seen and appreciated by your team, elevating your image as an effective coach versus a harried leader.