Graphic of text that includes the title of the article "Coaching for Growth and Development: In-service to the long term"

Hi, I am Marsha Base, and I have the best job at IG, at least I think so. My primary role is to support the growth and development of our powerhouse consulting team. I am excited to share with you the first part of an occasional series about my passion—coaching for growth and development.

As a quick introduction to the series, I will share a few reflections on how I approach this important work. To me, this role is less about supervision and checking-up and more about checking-in and being present.

At my best, I am curious, reflective, and nudge each consultant to choose their own path toward the growth and development they envision. At my worst, I become the problem solver, the rescuer, the “expert” with the answers. It’s my go-to role. The one I default to. We all have one of these. The trick is to be self-aware and know the conditions for your default mode.

As a rescuer, I default when I get questions like “What should I do…?” Michael Bungay Stanier in his book The Coaching Habit describes this type of question as the “cheddar on the mousetrap.” My immediate internal process goes to solutions: “I have seen this problem before, and I can fix it.” The trick for me is to wait a beat and respond at a deeper, more curious level that serves the questioner for the long term rather than the moment. I remain silent for a few seconds longer than usual. I then try using clarifying questions and curiosity statements like:

“I’ve got some ideas, but first what are you thinking?”

“What do you want from me?”

“What is prompting you to ask this question?”

“Out of curiosity…”

“To clarify…”

So, I am curious, how do you move out of your default, in-the-moment role and into a role that serves others for the long term?

I would love to hear from you. Please check back in a couple of months for another article in this series!