In my experience, one of the most common reasons managers want to adopt a coaching style of leadership is because they want to help their people find their own solutions rather than tell them what to do. Usually they know they have a skilled team of professionals and they want to build their confidence in solving problems and making decisions.
If you are also in this position, the first thing you need to recognise is that you may be helping create this dynamic. However the advantage of that is that you can also change it.
Employees often think that, because managers and leaders are more senior (and more highly paid), it is their responsibility to solve problems and make decisions. So they arrive at your office door all ready to give you the challenges they’re stuck with. For leaders there is the strong temptation to help your employees by taking on their problems and solving them for them. But taking on their problems is nothing more than rescuing them. It doesn’t help them develop the confidence to tackle the problem themselves.
So, the number one way you can help your employees take greater ownership for their work is to stop rescuing them. That doesn’t mean abandoning them and leaving them to struggle. It simply means helping them realise what they already know about how to tackle the challenge. A simple and effective question to ask is “Out of interest, what would you do if I wasn’t here?” Nine times out of ten, the answer they give you will be an acceptable way forward. They just need reassurance. Next time the same situation arises, they’ll have greater confidence in their own conviction.
If you keep taking your employees problems, they’ll keep giving them to you. Stop rescuing them and they’ll start drawing on their own knowledge and experience. And you can get on with your own job rather than theirs.