One of the things we regularly encourage our clients is, “Always be coaching.” As much fun as it is to be the hero and have all the solutions, scaling our companies requires trusting those around us to make decisions and take ownership of initiatives. To grow our people, we must always be coaching. Often the first question we encourage leaders to ask when an employee brings an issue is, “What do you recommend?” But it’s not my favorite coaching question.

My favorite coaching question is, “What else?” I find that often the first issue a client brings up is not the most important. Asking, “What else?” provides a person the space to keep digging until they get to the heart of a matter. It also allows them time to air the issues they may not have presented in their initial statement. This has the advantage of cutting down the number of times someone will come back to readdress an issue because they feel like they have not been completely heard. And yes, I keep asking what else until they tell me that’s all they have

I keep waiting for someone to get annoyed that I keep asking what else, but it has yet to happen. I’ve lost count of the number of times the heart of the matter came out after the third or even fourth ‘what else.’

I recommend putting ‘what else’ into your arsenal of coaching questions.

-Eric Smith