A key skill for female entrepreneurs for starting and growing a business today is coaching the best out of your people. Rather than telling them what to do; allow them to determine the best course of action through your coaching. As you are inspiring, encouraging, empowering and motivating others to find answers within them; you'll be open to some side benefits of feeling re-invigorated and energized.
- Questioning: Ask effective questions and wait for the answers. Dig into the answers instead of just assuming that you know what the person means with their first response. Understand what is behind the first answer. Usually the motivation for any action or behavior is hidden and it several layers down. If someone comes back with an answer that indicates that they don't know the answer; then say something to the effect: "Well, if you had to guess, what do you think the answer/solution/course of action would be?"
- Slow Down: Before saying what you think about a situation or a way to handle something, first make certain that you have drawn out as much as possible from your staff. If your staff is talking fast or giving short answers, change the pace and ask open questions that promote reflection and depth.
- Stay Objective: As much as possible, show that you care about the person. Remain impartial while you are empowering them in this process. There will be times when you will feel tested and may want to jump in with your direction to save time, but you will become a better coach in running a business and referee if you learn to stay objective.
- Be honest: If there's something that needs to be said, then say with absolute honesty. This isn't about shattering egos or self-esteem, but it's vital to be truthful in the softest way with warmth. Put the relationship first with the person and look for how you can best serve the person and the situation at the time. If you see that the commitment level isn't there with a particular person, look for how you can help them to recognize, explore and make decisions of how they will make changes or deal with this.
- Be a Shining Example: Be what you would like to see your staff be while allowing the freedom to make mistakes. No one is perfect and perfectionism leads to protectionism. However, do understand that people will automatically copy the leader. If you see behaviors or patterns that you don't like, look to see what you are doing while being open and willing to change. People will subconsciously mimic you rather than taking advice to change something that they see you doing.
- Own Up to Your Mistakes: Whether they are current or past mistakes, there could be opportunities for your staff to learn from your mistakes. At a minimum, they will learn that they can admit their mistakes, but as a female entrepreneur they can start asmall business, you can use your story to deepen their understanding. However, follow the process above first.
- Keep Raising the Standards: As you gain more experience at using these methods, you'll become more self-confident and your advice, when you do offer it, will improve too. Your energy will rise because these conversations won't drain your reserves.
Diva Toolbox Contributor, Susan Bagyura is the creator of The Powder Puff Guide to Starting a Business, guides women entrepreneurs through the worries, fears and don't-know-how-to's of starting a business to successfully owning their first business. Learn more at: http://powderpuffguide.com/