Culture by Design is Now ---- The Leader Factor

The Coaching and Accountability Matrix

In this final episode of the Micro-coaching and Accountability series, Tim and Junior take the previous two frameworks, The Coaching Continuum and The Three Levels of Accountability, and put them together into the ultimate diagnostic tool for leaders. Think of this matrix as a model to operationalize coaching on a dynamic team.Your objective? To move the individuals you work with up and to the right. To transfer critical thinking and ownership and increase their capacity through coaching. Leaders who coach their people all the way to box nine end up with a team of full thinking partners who are highly skilled, think critically, and take ownership of their roles. They’re encouraging outcome-oriented, future-focused employees who thrive in autonomy and accountability.

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Micro-coaching and Accountability Framework Guide

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Episode Show Notes

In this final episode of the Micro-coaching and Accountability series, Tim and Junior take the previous two frameworks, The Coaching Continuum and The Three Levels of Accountability, and put them together into the ultimate diagnostic tool for leaders. Think of this matrix as a model to operationalize coaching on a dynamic team.

Your objective? To move the individuals you work with up and to the right. To transfer critical thinking and ownership and increase their capacity through coaching. Leaders who coach their people all the way to box nine end up with a team of full thinking partners who are highly skilled, think critically, and take ownership of their roles. They’re encouraging outcome-oriented, future-focused employees who thrive in autonomy and accountability.

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Episode Transcript


0:00:09.2 Junior: Welcome back, everyone to the LeaderFactor. I'm Junior here with my co-host, Dr. Tim Clark, and today is our third of three.

0:00:16.6 Tim: Right.

0:00:17.9 Junior: The final episode in the Coaching and Accountability Series.

0:00:22.3 Tim: Fantastic.

0:00:23.6 Junior: This has been fun.

0:00:23.8 Tim: Good series. Solid, practical.

0:00:26.3 Junior: Yeah.

0:00:26.5 Tim: Yeah.

0:00:26.6 Junior: How are you liking the annotation, blog? The technology?

0:00:31.3 Tim: I like it because I just love to be able to annotate and use the frameworks and the models.

0:00:39.8 Junior: Yeah, you're in your element. This is great stuff. So where have we been? Two episodes ago we talked about the coaching continuum that runs from Tell to Ask. Last, we talked about the autonomy and accountability relationship. So there're three levels, task, process, and outcome. And today we're gonna be doing something pretty neat. We're gonna be putting them together into the coaching and accountability matrix.

0:01:06.6 Tim: We kind of take those two models, Junior, and we splice them.

0:01:10.5 Junior: Yeah.

0:01:11.3 Tim: Don't we?

0:01:11.4 Junior: If you were to just take this from zero with no context, it looks like there's a lot going on.

0:01:14.8 Tim: Yeah, you might be lost.

0:01:15.0 Junior: There it is. But breaking them out on the front end I think is really important and will help you understand where we're at. So let's orient ourselves around this model, The Coaching and Accountability Matrix. So down here we've got coaching. That was from episode one. So you'll see the same spectrum that we talked about, tell to ask. Then we have accountability, which was last episode, transfer of ownership, task, process, outcome. So when we put those two things together on the X and the Y axis, we get this grid. So we have the combinations that you can see. They're implicit, tell and task. We've got box one, middle of the road, tell to ask spectrum process level box five, ask outcome and the rest of the combinations. So what is the hope? Why this model? What's our objective as it relates to this model?

0:02:20.9 Tim: Yeah. The objective is to move people up and to the right, but please notice, so opposite the vertical axis of accountability, we are transferring ownership. That's the objective. And that's what happens if we can successfully move people up in accountability. And then opposite the horizontal axis, we have transfer of critical thinking, and that's what happens is we move toward the ask end of the coaching continuum. So those are those two goals that are always the objectives of coaching. And so we're just making those explicit on those other opposite sides of this matrix. So I just wanna point that out. But back to your original question, Junior. We're trying to move people. We're trying to transfer those two things and move people up and to the right. So this becomes a diagnostic tool, a very practical way to assess where a person is and where they need to go.

0:03:32.7 Junior: Yeah. So this is something that I've used for years. I've seen it used with our clients. I've used it with our clients. I've used it internally myself. I've used it internally with our team members, our leadership team, and it's been very, very useful. So let's talk about it as a diagnostic tool. So each of us, well, not everyone has a team, many do. You can plot your team on this grid. Now, it's not going to be exact, and that's important to call out, but no model is precise, it's illustrative. We have a basic idea of where someone might be. So let's say that it's someone's first day. Where are they gonna be? They're gonna be in box one.

0:04:15.2 Tim: And that's okay.

0:04:16.0 Junior: And that's okay.

0:04:18.3 Tim: It's day one.

0:04:19.4 Junior: We wanna move to box two, right? So what might have to happen in order to get them to box two? Well, they've got to grapple with their role. They've got to figure out what's what. They got to get a lay of the land, and then we can start to ask more questions. As we do that, what's happening? They're moving across this band at the top. We're transferring critical thinking. They're becoming more involved in that process as we ask more questions. So let's say that they're doing really well. They're moving through task. We're leading through inquiry. We get to box three, and then what do we do? If we wanna get to box four, what has to happen? Now, we're gonna be transferring ownership. The scope of your role now changes.

0:05:01.3 Tim: Yeah. Scope goes.

0:05:03.2 Junior: We're gonna give you a little bit more to do.

0:05:05.7 Tim: From task to process. So now you're going to be in charge of a sequence, a whole series of repeating tasks that we call a process. And you've got to elevate. You've got to go to that next level.

0:05:17.3 Junior: So let's think about the example that we gave in the second episode. Lawn care, right? So let's say over here, we're in ask. We're in box three and we've been there for a little while. And we wanna get all the way to box four. This is our intended destination. You can see how this works because we move from ask back to tell. Man, the highlighter and the pen. I get these confused. I've been using the pen. Okay, ask. We wanna move to box four. We're gonna have to go back to some telling because there's now new stuff in your role. The scope's changed.

0:05:53.4 Tim: Yeah, there's a new scope. It's a much bigger scope. You have an entire process that implies that we've got to do more telling, more guiding. We've got to be more directive to help you be able to come up to speed and do that.

0:06:09.2 Junior: Yeah. So you were mowing the lawn. Now we're gonna talk about pruning the trees. We're gonna talk about keeping the beds clean. We're gonna talk about all of those other things that might be involved with that process. And then what do we do again? We go back to ask. That's how we move from box four to box six is we stop telling so much, we move back to inquiry. And you can see how this pattern's going.

0:06:34.8 Tim: And as you're moving from tell to ask at each level, think about what's happening, you're refining and deepening your understanding of what you do, how you do it, why you do it, what the implications are. And you don't just throw it over the wall to the next person. What you're gaining is more systems level thinking capability, right? You're seeing the big picture. You're getting up in your hot air balloon. You're looking at everything. You're looking at relationships, interdependencies, cause and effect relationships. This is what happens is we move from tell to ask. We continue to march toward inquiry. We're transferring critical thinking. That's the goal.

0:07:24.1 Junior: Yep. So let's talk about the transition from box six to box seven. So now all of a sudden, if box seven is my destination, what am I doing? I'm moving up, transfer of ownership. So now the scope of the role changes again, we move back to tell, but we're telling through the lens of outcome level accountability, right? So let's take the marketing function as an example. I want leads, outcome. We've transferred ownership, we're transferring critical thinking. But from box seven to box nine, do you know what question I find myself asking a lot?

0:08:08.2 Tim: What?

0:08:08.6 Junior: Is what do you think we should do?

0:08:10.1 Tim: Yeah.

0:08:12.6 Junior: That's a question that you can really only ask to a box niner. If someone's in box nine, that person, you can ask that question to. Almost no one else can you ask that question to, at the level of outcome.

0:08:28.5 Tim: At outcome level.

0:08:29.7 Junior: Exactly.

0:08:30.1 Tim: That's right.

0:08:30.8 Junior: Yeah. You're gonna be asking that question a lot along the way. But as it relates to a department, a business unit, a geography, that person, that's where you want to get. What should we do?

0:08:43.4 Tim: And so then that person, that employee Junior, becomes a full thinking partner with you.

0:08:51.3 Junior: Yeah. And that's where we wanna get.

0:08:53.1 Tim: That's what we need.

0:08:54.5 Junior: If it's up to us, we as leaders want to move everyone through these boxes all the way to nine. Now, some are gonna get hung up along the way, and they're not gonna want to move. Some are not gonna wanna move from box three to box four.

0:09:07.6 Tim: That's true.

0:09:08.8 Junior: Some are not gonna wanna move from six to seven, and we have to work with that.

0:09:14.9 Tim: That's right.

0:09:15.9 Junior: That becomes a difficult thing to do, but we have to do our part in order to get them there. So hopefully you can see the beauty of this model. For me, it's really useful because I can plot everybody on here, and then my job as a manager becomes a little bit more tactical and I'm leaving less up to chance. Let me tell you what I mean. If I say, Hey, Tim, you need to be a better leader. How do you think you should be a better leader? You could say any number of things, any activity. And this happens a lot with leaders. Well, I could be a better coach. I could. I'm not sure.

0:09:54.3 Tim: And then how do you go do that?

0:09:56.4 Junior: Yeah, I dunno. But if I plot everybody on my team in here and I say, okay, this person is in box one. I have person two in box six, I have person three in box eight, person four in box three. That informs the way that I engage with that person. I know exactly what I need to do as a leader. So if I'm looking at the person in box one, what does that mean? It means I need to ask more questions. If I have somebody in box six, what does that mean? I need to give them more responsibility. If I have somebody in box eight, what does that mean? I need to ask more questions as it relates to outcomes. So it's very informative at a behavioral level. It's very practical. What should you do next as a leader, as it relates to any one of your people? Put them on this. It'll give you a pretty good idea of where to start.

0:10:50.4 Tim: Yeah, I think the intent here, Junior with this tool is to operationalize the job of coaching an individual. You cannot coach them unless you understand the objectives, where they are and where they need to go. And this helps us do that.

0:11:11.4 Junior: So that's the combination of the two models that we've talked about. We put those two together, we get that nine box. So how. How do we help people move through those boxes in a really practical way? There are some tools, some tools that we're going to share that we think will be useful. We hope they will be useful. We're very confident they'll be useful because we've used them for a long time with a lot of success. So the first one is the coachability assessment. We have to ask the question, is this person likely going to move from this box to this box?

0:11:44.8 Tim: Right.

0:11:45.5 Junior: It's largely a function of coachability.

0:11:47.0 Tim: Well, what did we just talk about? The accountability matrix and plotting each of, for example, your direct reports. Where are they? What box are they in? But you don't know why. So now we've got to dig in with some other additional diagnostic tools and decision-making tools to help us understand why are they where they are. You can't coach them effectively until you know that.

0:12:13.8 Junior: So two axes, self-awareness, willingness, self-awareness. Describe that. What is this?

0:12:20.8 Tim: Self-awareness is understanding how you're performing, how you're doing, and why you do what you do. Right? There are many aspects to self-awareness, of course. And it's critical though, to get better. If you don't understand where you are, you have no bearing points to comprehend your current position. How are you going to get better?

0:12:46.9 Junior: Exactly. And on the other axis, we have willingness, straightforward. Do you want to?

0:12:52.1 Tim: Do you want to?

0:12:53.9 Junior: Do you wanna get better?

0:12:54.0 Tim: Yeah.

0:12:54.1 Junior: So when we put these two things together, we get a two by two matrix. Bottom left, failing plateauing. This is the combination of low self-awareness, low willingness.

0:13:04.9 Tim: Right.

0:13:06.8 Junior: Trouble.

0:13:07.5 Tim: Trouble.

0:13:08.6 Junior: Bad news. We don't wanna be here. Progressing is high willingness, low self-awareness, crawling, high self-awareness, low willingness, and accelerating high, high. So let's talk about these combinations for a second. Self-awareness and willingness. Which one would you rather have if you could have one?

0:13:27.7 Tim: Ah, great question. Yeah, no, really think about it.

0:13:32.3 Junior: It is a good question, I think.

0:13:32.4 Tim: And viewers think about this, if you could have more willingness or more self-awareness, which one would you choose? What's the logic? I know what I would choose. I would choose willingness. Because I think if you have willingness eventually, and inevitably you're going to increase in self-awareness simply because you're willing, you're willing, you're willing. You're trying, you're striving, you're working, you're practicing. You're going to get better.

0:14:03.5 Junior: Yeah. A follow-up question of which would you rather have is which is more difficult to obtain? And willingness is the harder to obtain.

0:14:12.0 Tim: Yeah, I think so.

0:14:12.1 Junior: It is very difficult to coach willingness. So if you look at your position as a leader, as a manager, willingness, that is completely up to the person. There's some things you can do to incentivize and tune that a little bit, but not much.

0:14:28.3 Tim: Well, Junior, I think, I mean that goes back to almost Frederick Hertzberg and his research and the distinction between hygiene factors and true motivators. I can't give you your own generator to generate the momentum. I can't give you the drive that is intrinsic. It comes from within you. It's inside out.

0:15:00.0 Junior: And then on the other hand, self-awareness you can very much help with self-awareness, right?

0:15:07.8 Tim: Yeah.

0:15:07.9 Junior: You can help by shedding light on these other things. If there's willingness, that person would be more likely to say, you know what? You're right. There's a blind spot there. That piece of feedback that you gave me. I think that that's right. So which would you rather have? You'd rather have willingness. So if you have a high willingness individual who has low self-awareness, they're still going to progress. That's why we've labeled that box as progressing.

0:15:33.3 Tim: Yeah. They're still gonna be making some progress.

0:15:37.2 Junior: But if you have high self-awareness and low willingness, we put crawling 'cause you're barely.

0:15:42.4 Tim: You're in first gear.

0:15:44.0 Junior: You are in first gear.

0:15:45.7 Tim: What's the low gear on your Jeep Junior? I don't know what they call that, but you're in that.

0:15:48.5 Junior: Yeah. Four Low.

0:15:52.2 Tim: Four low.

0:15:52.3 Junior: Or low.

0:15:52.4 Tim: You're in four low and you're just crawling.

0:15:53.4 Junior: And that gear ratio is such that you are not moving very fast.

0:15:57.6 Tim: No.

0:15:58.2 Junior: But also in this case, the Jeep analogy doesn't work 'cause you're low torque too.

0:16:01.7 Tim: Okay.

0:16:04.2 Junior: Let's go accelerating. High, high.

0:16:06.0 Tim: High, high.

0:16:07.7 Junior: These are people who are gonna fly through that nine by nine matrix.

0:16:10.4 Tim: Yes.

0:16:11.2 Junior: Right. If you have high willingness and high self-awareness, you're gonna be able to move very quickly. So if you use this in tandem with the coaching and accountability matrix, you have a lot of information available to you. So if we go back up to that model and we say, okay, we've got somebody who's in box six, why are they in box six? And then we go down and we use the coachability assessment and we see that they are high willingness, high self-awareness. We can predict with a high degree of confidence that we're gonna be able to get them to make this move over to box seven, right?

0:16:50.6 Tim: Yeah.

0:16:51.4 Junior: If you have somebody in box three and they are low willingness and low-ish self-awareness, the chance that we get them to four.

0:17:03.7 Tim: It's gonna be tough.

0:17:04.7 Junior: Is gonna be tough. So this helps set realistic expectations. I think as a leader, when you're looking for building talent pipeline and you're looking to generate a really healthy, resilient team, build some bench. If you don't do this, you're not gonna have all of the information that you should probably have to build a well-rounded team. Which is that...

0:17:26.8 Tim: And I would also say this Junior, this second coachability assessment, this tool as a leader, you're not to keep this a secret from your people. So you come to your own assessment, you come to your own conclusions about their own coachability, which lives, as we said, at the intersection of willingness and self-awareness. But you can also go to the person and sit down and have a conversation and say, where do you think you are? How would you gauge your self-awareness? How would you gauge your self-awareness.

0:18:00.6 Junior: And willingness?

0:18:00.9 Tim: Where do you think you are? And then, and stimulate some deep self-reflection. So if you tell me you think you are in a certain place, why do you think that? How did you come to that conclusion? That's about as deep a penetrating question as you can ask to prompt self-awareness, to prompt reflection, right? Systematic reflection.

0:18:32.0 Junior: And as we've said before in the series, this is, this now puts the onus on the person. It's not just on you. It doesn't seem arbitrary. It doesn't seem that the performance eval that's less than desirable comes outta left field. No, no. We've had these conversations, you've informed me about where you think you are relative to these things, and then we've used that as a lens to put on the realities of the situation. And we can come to a pretty realistic idea of what has happened. Right. What is reality?

0:19:04.4 Tim: And I want to add another point. When you're coaching this way and you're using these tools, it changes the tone of the relationship. If we're engaging and you're asking me where do you think you are? Let's talk about that. Where would you like to go? Let's talk about that. What are your goals? Let's talk about that. It's not a paternalistic conversation or relationship. Yep. It's collegial. It's egalitarian, it's helpful, it's collaborative. It changes the tone. Right. It changes the nature of our relationship, the terms of our engagement, the way that we work together.

0:19:51.2 Junior: Yeah. I've had so many experiences. Well, on both sides where I have said, I've been on the tell side and I've called a conversation. I'm like, this is the problem. Right? Yeah. And other times where I've come to the conversation led with inquiry. The inquiry based conversations always go better.

0:20:12.5 Tim: Always go better.

0:20:12.8 Junior: And here's the funny thing. Let's say that there's a performance issue or there's some, there's a problem. What I have learned to do over time is I'll have, I'll call a conversation a quick meeting, and I'll ask the person, hey, why do you think we're having this meeting? Almost always, the person will tell me exactly why. I know we're having the meeting [laughter] Yeah. Oh, it's probably about this thing. And then what's my next one? My next statement is not, yeah, you're right. It's tell me why you think that. Well, this thing happened and I know it was this. And so.

0:20:52.0 Tim: You're bringing self-awareness to the surface.

0:20:55.2 Junior: Absolutely. And I'm not the bad guy. Right. I'm not coming and saying, you failed to meet expectations and you're problematic. Right. The person saying like, I'm problematic. Right. [laughter], that's different.

0:21:07.9 Tim: Transferring ownership once again.

0:21:09.4 Junior: Yeah. And then the tone is like, well, how can I help you not be problematic? Right. Well, it would be useful if we could do this or set this up this way, or you could help me with this thing. And I'm leading through inquiry. Well, what would you like to have happen? What do you think is reasonable based on what's happened? Well, and same thing. If you go into a performance evaluation, let the person evaluate their own performance. Right. Now there's a balance to all of this, but if we could do more of that and less of the paternalistic, like this, this is the way that it goes. Right. The better. And so that's why I love these models, is they're not to be hidden. Right. They're not to be, used on the side and the person's like, what's he doing over there?

0:21:56.6 Junior: No. This is a collaborative participative process. Put yourself on this model. Right. And then I'll help you go where you want to go. So let's move to the next one. This one's called manager quadrants. Now we've been plotting a whole bunch of other people. Now it's time for us to plot ourselves. Right. We have to take accountability too.

0:22:16.7 Tim: As the coach.

0:22:18.8 Junior: Exactly. And so this one's really interesting to me. We have two axes again. We have affiliation on the y axis and accountability on the x axis. So explain these to us, these two axes.

0:22:34.4 Tim: Right. Accountability. I think we understand Junior, you're being answerable for your own performance. Affiliation means the quality, the depth, the intimacy, the familiarity in the relationship that you have with the other person. So it's a measure of that relationship.

0:22:54.2 Junior: So in light of ourselves, we're asking the question, can we hold other people accountable? Do we do that well? And how affiliated are we with the person? Right. What type of relationship do we have with that person? That's right. Is it surface level? Is it deep? That sort of thing. So we can plot ourselves here. If we have low accountability, low affiliation, we're gonna be in that absentee landlord box that I love that label. Tell me about that label.

0:23:25.1 Tim: Well, the, I guess the what characterizes the absentee landlord is that you're not there and you don't care. You're not spending the time with the person. You're not present, you're not engaged, you're not invested in the relationship. There's not a lot of feedback. There's not a lot of actual coaching going on. You're an absentee landlord, so you are low on affiliation, the quality of the relationship, and you're low on accountability. Think about what you would feel like on the receiving end or having a boss like that. I had a boss like that. And it's frustrating. You try hard to do well, to perform well. And there's no acknowledgement. There's, you're not being held accountable, but you're also not being acknowledged or recognized or validated for what you do do.

0:24:23.5 Junior: Yeah. So, absentee landlord don't want to be there. Next we have what you affectionately call the buddy box. Tell me about love the buddy box. Tell me, tell me about the buddy box.

0:24:34.2 Tim: Well, the buddy box, look at the combination. Affiliation is high, accountability is low. So your frame for your relationship with that person is you, you want to be their buddy.

0:24:50.0 Junior: Yeah. Low accountability.

0:24:54.1 Tim: Low Accountability. You're, so when we see this situation, there's a fundamental flaw in the way that you are viewing the relationship. You're making an assumption typically that if I hold you accountable, it's going to sacrifice the relationship. Right? Yeah. Because I'm high in affiliation, but I'm not gonna hold you accountable. So I'm gonna give you a pass.

0:25:26.3 Junior: Yep. That's the key part.

0:25:27.8 Tim: I'm gonna look the other way. I'm gonna wink. I'm not gonna hold you accountable.

0:25:32.7 Junior: Yeah. We're good.

0:25:33.0 Tim: So what's my operating assumption about the relationship here? That the relationship cannot withstand accountability. My response to that junior is, [laughter] if the relationship cannot withstand accountability, you need to think, you need to question the relationship. What is the nature of the relationship?

0:25:56.7 Junior: Precisely. It's a sunshine relationship.

0:26:03.5 Tim: It's, so therefore it's probably a superficial relationship.

0:26:07.0 Junior: Agreed.

0:26:09.2 Tim: Because if it's a genuine, meaningful, deep relationship, it can withstand accountability.

0:26:17.3 Junior: So let's flip it. Low affiliation, low accountability. We've got the micromanager. Yeah. So I'm really high on accountability, but I don't care about you. Right. I don't want to get to know you. I couldn't care less. And I've certainly seen this where you're like zeroed out on the Y-axis. There is no affiliation. Yeah. Don't care. In accountability, we're just gonna ratchet all the way to the ceiling. Yeah. In an unhealthy way. Yeah. We should micromanage.

0:26:46.2 Tim: Well, we're gonna put you on a leash about this long. Yeah. And we're gonna have fun together, [laughter] Yeah. But we don't value the relationship.

0:26:54.2 Junior: Yeah. Yep. And what happens to discretionary effort in this scenario? There is none.

0:27:02.5 Tim: You lose your motivation.

0:27:03.0 Junior: There is none. Yeah.

0:27:04.1 Tim: And your commitment. So, you put people on a compliance track when you manage this way. And also think about the relationship between being a micromanager and the coaching continuum. Where are you living at the tail end? So, now I'm on the receiving end of tell, tell, tell. And yet my boss doesn't value the relationship that we have. Does not care about that. Yeah. Well, what, how am I feeling? Right?

0:27:38.7 Junior: Yeah. Not good.

0:27:39.1 Tim: Where's my commitment level?

0:27:40.4 Junior: Yeah. Not good.

0:27:41.6 Tim: All kinds of unintended consequences that come with that.

0:27:45.2 Junior: So the final box, box four. The leader.

0:27:47.9 Tim: The leader.

0:27:48.8 Junior: High affiliation, high accountability. Yeah. This should be the aspiration of every leader to get to this box. Yep. It means that we have a relationship that's real, because I care. Yes. And I can also hold you accountable.

0:28:03.6 Tim: That's right.

0:28:04.1 Junior: If you think about the people who have had the most influence, those that you admire most, think about the nature of that relationship with those people. And literally think about someone, a name, someone that comes to mind for you. And think about where they would be on this matrix. They're probably top right. They probably cared a whole lot. And they probably held you accountable. It's likely that the people you respect and value and admire the most are not the "buddies."

0:28:40.1 Tim: They're not gonna be easy on you.

0:28:40.8 Junior: They're not gonna be easy on you. They're not gonna give you the wink and the pass. And say like, hey, you're good. Get front of the line for you. Right. You don't have to go through this process. You don't have to do this thing. If they really care, they'll say, look, and they'll ask, do you think that we've met the expectation? Right. And they won't let you pass.

0:29:00.0 Tim: No.

0:29:01.7 Junior: So I think about that in my own life. The teachers, the professors, the coaches, the friends who have made the most impact on me. All of them, without exception have been high accountability, high affiliation. Because if the accountability, I think of the combinations again, I run them through my brain and then filter them against these people. High affiliation, low accountability. No. I'm not interested because I'm interested in getting better. I think about high accountability, low affiliation. I'm like, you don't care. You don't.

0:29:36.2 Tim: You care more about yourself.

0:29:38.0 Junior: Yeah. But when those two things come together and I feel that the person cares and they also say, I, there's more there.

0:29:47.7 Tim: Right.

0:29:48.5 Junior: Right. There's more to give. There's more to learn. You can become better. That helps. And now I have the motivation to go and get better because I know that they have my best interest at heart.

0:29:58.6 Tim: That's right.

0:30:00.4 Junior: Is the same true for you?

0:30:00.5 Tim: No.

0:30:01.2 Junior: Because you think about the people in your life.

0:30:03.2 Tim: Yeah. I think the people that have had the biggest impact on my life, high affiliation, high accountability. They don't let me off. There's no pass. There's high expectations, but they truly, really care. Yep. There's a pattern there.

0:30:17.7 Junior: There is. Okay. Two more models. Next one, the question. Funnel questions have varying Degrees. Oh my goodness. Degrees. We've been podcasting for too long. A hundred episodes is too long. [laughter] Degrees of quality.

0:30:38.0 Tim: Yes.

0:30:38.8 Junior: There are times for open-ended, close-ended and binary questions. But more often than not, what should we be doing? Open-ended questions. So when we talk about the tell to ask spectrum, this lives inside the ask side. It lives inside inquiry. Yes, we want to inquire, but it's not just that simple. We want to use appropriate questions. So tell me about this question funnel.

0:31:06.7 Tim: What we learned Junior, is that based on the questions that we ask, we transfer a certain amount of work, a certain amount of critical thinking responsibility. And so if I ask at the top of this question funnel, we have three questions. What, in fact, let me circle these. There's what and why and how. And it's the same in any language. Those three questions transfer the most critical thinking responsibility to the other person. If I ask you a why question about anything, you can't just.

0:31:50.0 Junior: I can't just say no.

0:31:50.1 Tim: You can't say no.

0:31:50.9 Junior: Yes.

0:31:51.4 Tim: Nor can you give me some, I don't know, glib, superficial response. You gotta think about it. You've gotta do analysis, you've gotta come to some conclusions, and then you've gotta be able to express those. Think about all of the work that you have to do to answer that question. So the same is true of what and why and how top of the funnel questions transfer the most work. Yep. And then we go down from there. Now, of course, a highly skilled manager is going to use the entire funnel, but the bias, they're gonna try to stay at the top of the funnel with their people as much as they can.

0:32:33.5 Junior: Yeah. Well, you think about the onus on the manager to transfer. Critical thinking is entirely reliant upon the questions we ask. So you could be doing inquiry, but if it's low quality, we're not transferring critical thinking.

0:32:49.2 Tim: We're not getting there.

0:32:50.1 Junior: No. And so that's a great filter to use. When you're thinking about a question that you might ask, is it facilitating that transfer of critical thinking? Why and how are probably the two most powerful? How might we go about this? Why are you thinking about it this way? Help me understand the point of view. So the question funnel, the last one, our question types, again, a well versed manager is going to be able to use each of these question types, comprehension, what do you know? Causation, what happened? Opinion, what do you think? What do you believe? What can you do? What do you feel? What can you imagine? When's the last time you asked one of your people, what can you imagine? When's the last time you.

0:33:46.4 Tim: That's not a common question.

0:33:47.3 Junior: Not a common question.

0:33:48.4 Tim: No. You're asking them to leave the plane of reality. Yeah. And think about what could be. What's possible.

0:34:00.5 Junior: Imagine the types of conversations that you could have by just using this one question. Right. The next conversation you have with somebody asks them this question, what can you imagine about the next 24 months? What can you imagine about the possibility of this initiative? You're unlocking a whole realm of thinking that we don't use very often especially in that scenario. Where you as leader, talking to your people, you often don't ask questions like this. Right. What do you think that's more common? But again, we probably don't use it as much as we could. What do you feel? How often do we use that one?

0:34:43.1 Tim: Right.

0:34:44.1 Junior: Not often. Probably for most managers.

0:34:49.8 Tim: Well, and that's a very legitimate question because it may, it taps into instincts, intuition, a hunch, things that you are feeling, but you cannot perhaps support with data. Right. You can't corroborate it that way. You can't stack evidence. Yep. But you're feeling things. You've developed a set of instincts over time. We need to pay attention to that.

0:35:21.9 Junior: Yeah. Here's a question that I think is really underrated. Causation. What happened? What I have found over time is that my perspective of what happened and your perspective of what happened and someone else's perspective of what happened, not the same, even though we're in the same situation.

0:35:43.2 Tim: Yeah. Even though you have the same data set.

0:35:45.7 Junior: You have the same data set, you have the same stimulus. Right. Yet you are, you perceive what happened very differently. So this is one that I've been trying to use more in the beginning of conversations with people. So what happened. From your perspective, what happened? Oh, well this thing. And they may tell a story that is so different from what I have in my head. And so just starting out there to make sure we're in alignment. Because if you jump right into intervention for some thing. Some reason. And you're on entirely different pages as to what happened in the context, it's not going to go well. And so we need to get, come to terms with that on the front end and say, oh, I think you see that a little bit differently than I did, or I didn't even notice that, or that felt different to you than it did to me.

0:36:38.5 Tim: Sometimes junior people will ask that question, but it's disingenuous. And they're simply hoping that the person will come to their point of view.

0:36:48.4 Junior: Precisely.

0:36:48.6 Tim: That's not what we're talking about.

0:36:49.3 Junior: Yeah. We're waiting for you to tell me what I think happened.

0:36:51.8 Tim: Right. So can you, let's come over to the authoritative version of what happened, [laughter] Yeah. But what we know very clearly is that different people can take the same data set and come to different conclusions. We need to understand how they went from data to conclusions. Why did, why is that journey different for you than for me? I need to understand that because what can I gain? I can glean insights. I may have arrived at the wrong conclusion. I may be interpreting the data and the cause and effect relationships in an incorrect way. So this is valuable. We're doing it genuinely and authentically because we're trying, we're in discovery and it's real.

0:37:43.0 Junior: Yeah. Inquiry, not advocacy.

0:37:47.4 Tim: That's right.

0:37:47.5 Junior: So you can see the interplay across all of these different models. They reinforce each other, they give nuance and color to certain components of the model that aren't immediately obvious. You use all of these in concert and you've got quite a few tools on your tool belt. To help you become a better manager.

0:38:05.3 Tim: That's right.

0:38:06.5 Junior: So if we take a step back to look at the overarching objective, what's our goal? We want to transfer ownership. We want to transfer critical thinking. So the coaching and accountability matrix is kind of, it's the pinnacle matrix from everything that we've talked about, all rolled into one model. So if there's one thing that you could print out, put on your desk and refer to through time, it would be this. So what we're going to be doing is putting a few of these models together to synthesize the conversation that we've had over the last three episodes as a downloadable for the audience.

0:38:47.9 Tim: Fantastic.

0:38:48.6 Junior: We're gonna make that free to everybody. And that will be linked depending on what platform you are in, the comments and the show notes. But you can download these tools and we would encourage everyone to do that, to keep them top of mind, to put them into practice to become better leaders. So as we wrap up this series, what's on your mind and what would you leave people with as parting thoughts?

0:39:09.8 Tim: That coaching is a practical day-to-day skill. And you have to keep practicing and then you have to reflect. So you have to go through this cycle of applying and then reflecting. And you have to keep doing it. And it's ongoing because leadership is an applied discipline. So that's what I always come back to.

0:39:29.9 Junior: What I would come back to is the coachability assessment. And in light of your comments, use that ourselves. As a leader, how willing are you, how self-aware are you? Work on both of those. Try to become more aware of what's going on, about your deficiencies, your strengths as a leader. Work on those things that need to be worked on, and do that with a high degree of willingness to be able to positively affect other people. Because if we go back to the very beginning, we shared a quote from Larry Boss, said coaching is the single most important part of expanding another's capability. So let's let that be our motivation to aspire to expand others' capability. And what's so reciprocal about that is that as we do that, we expand our own ability.

0:40:23.3 Tim: That's very true.

0:40:24.5 Junior: And we become better leaders. So we hope that this series has been useful to all of you. We've very much enjoyed doing it. We've had really great response over the years using these models with our clients and inside of our own team. And so we hope that you will find the same success. If you liked today's conversation or the series generally let us know. Leave a comment, tell us what you liked, tell us what you would like to see more or less of. We would be very interested in your feedback. And with that, we will see you next episode. Bye-Bye.

Show Notes

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Episode Transcript

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

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How to customize formatting for each rich text

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