#093: Coach More, Rescue Less: 7 Power Questions To Ask Your Team | Michael Bungay Stanier

With our listeners a time when you actually failed maybe early in your career okay what did you learn from because we want to learn from your pain and failure too so many stories you know I.

Left law school being sued by one of my law school.

Lecturers for defamation I got banned from my high school graduation my goodness saloon incident so like I’ve collected my scars along the.

Way but the story I’ll tell you is this there’s a company I was working with and we ended up giving the boss or I ended up giving her the nickname red dot because you know when you watch the movie Kevin and the assassin trains their laser rifle.
On somebody’s head and that little red dot appears.

Yes well that’s what her team meetings.

Were like a weekly meeting she was under a ton of stress we were got we.

Were trying to lead a change project a rebranding project for the organization it was just.

Going from bad to worse and basically.

We walk in red dot would train her gaze under somebody they’d proceed to get eviscerated in this meeting everybody else is kind of ducking for cover looking at their shoes or looking at the ceiling trying to avoid that and you know I was seeing that was happening and I was framing it through a model a lens called the drama triangle the drama triangle basically says when things go wrong three roles play out there’s the victim the.

Persecutor and the rescuer and these roles trigger each other and here’s what I learned she.

Was coming in as the persecutor you know that.

Kind of crazy bully you know take-no-prisoners sort of attitude and what I noticed was that I would get pushed into one of the other two roles I never be the victim kind of complaining and whining and.

Oh it’s so hard or the rescuer you know just trying to at work even harder and trying to placate her in some ways and when I noticed is neither of those roles changed anything and actually was only by getting out.

Of the drama triangle by breaking some of the patterns that were playing out that I could try and get a better working relationship with this particular person so that.

Was my that was you know we failed I actually got fired from their job about three months later which was fantastic because it was the way it’s the moment that I got to launch box of crayons so is one of those moments like thank you for pushing me out of that particular nurse because I can finally fly.

But you’re understanding that when you’re.

In a dysfunctional experience what you get to control is your own behavior in response to what’s happening that is a really central part of growth and learning for me Michael this is I didn’t realize you were gonna you know share this story of course but I’m glad you did because you mentioned the drama triangle and listeners in Michael’s book the coaching habit he talks about the drama triangle and it was actually the first time.

I had encountered that model or it had heard about it and Michael you have sort of a you know a funny.

Story about yourself in the book and you say often you know we play all three roles really quickly in an incident and you know the key again is we can’t always control what happens to us the the red dots out there in in the world however we can control our own behavior and break out of some of these patterns.

Think of those three roles the victim the persecutor and the skewer people instinctively know what those three roles look like you know the.

Victim the whiny complaining person the persecutor the kind of shaky finger.

Wagoner or that other micro manager and then the rescue of that person who jumps in and says give it.

To me fix it or fix that I’ll take it on all three of them are dysfunctional they’re all equally dysfunctional but here’s what’s interesting Kevin when you say look you get how the triangle works you get the three roles which role do you think you play.

And when we teach this we have people standing around the triangle I say go and stand by the.

Role that you play most often like 90 to 95 percent of people will self-identify as the rescuer hmm and before you continue I gotta admit that’s probably where I would have gone and then you go so how’s that working for you and people go it’s terrible I am exhausted I’m overwhelmed I’m frustrated I’m trying to do other people’s work.

And never quite getting to my own I’m starting to realize that rescuers create victims and rescuers create persecutors and why this is important in this conversation Kevin is that one of the challenges of talking about coaching is that a lot of people go yeah yeah coaching I’ve heard of it of course it’s an HR thing H I want me to add it on to my already very busy list of things.

To do I’ll try and get round to it but I may not and what I want people to understand about coaching is that it’s not something to add on to what you.

Already do it’s a way of transforming what you currently do so that you’re more effective in the.

Work that you do and what’s powerful about coaching and being more codes like which.

When it boils down to it means can you stay curious a little bit longer and can you rush to action and advice just a little bit more slowly what that does be.

More coach like is one of the surefire ways of pulling you out of the drama.

Triangle so if you’re nodding your head and recognizing the drama triangle and going oh my god let’s just explain.

Every relationship I’ve ever had my parent my children my spouse my boss my team if you want to break the drama triangle.

One of the muscles to develop is how do I get to be more coach like and that’s what this conversations about and what the book is about so Michael I want it and this is like.

Off off script I want to go even a little deeper into the drama triangles I’m finding it fascinating and I think this is super valuable so with what you just said about most people would go into the rescuer point of the of the triangle or side of the triangle and you’re talking now I’m paraphrasing but you’re saying you know you’re really enabling persecutors right and this is a problem so clarify for me though you know is there a fine line.

And I’m thinking back when I was really starting young I was probably 21 22 years old I can remember working in this drug company and a higher-up.

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