Executive coach Marshall Goldsmith has described what causes the most talented, ambitious, and successful professional to hit a career roadblock. Almost all professionals have some interpersonal dynamics of one form or another which either didn't matter in the early phases of their career, or the professionals were so talented that they progressed despite some interpersonal issues.
As a coach who has been working with leaders for over twenty years I continually observe that it is behavioral and interpersonal dynamics, not technical skills, which separate average performers from peak performers. Goldsmith points out that incredible results come from practicing basic behaviors like saying thank you, listening well, thinking before you speak, and apologizing for your mistakes. However, most managers and executives undervalue these key skills. They may seem like basic skills, but most people still haven't mastered them well enough to be at their best most of the time.
The answer is all of the above statements are true. But how can we use this information in coaching our clients?
We can make all of these true statements into a powerful coaching question by using these facts as coaching question stems. For example, note how each of the following powerful questions is created by adding the word "what" to the above statements.