The best leaders and managers are, at the heart of it all, coaches. Words are a coach’s most potent tool; but far too often, they are misused or underutilized.

The following are some questions and phrases that I’ve observed to be impactful, clustered under three categories that people who lead or manage others experience every day at work. (Remember: Tone and body language are even more game-changing than word choice!)

Giving Constructive Feedback
“I see that _______________ is your most impactful behavior. What I don’t think I heard you mention was ______________. Please share your thoughts on this.”
“Your plan includes _____________. Consider how you also might include ___________. This will help you by _______________

“Something that would help me is seeing even more details or specifics around ______________. This would help your plan to more fully meet the S.M.A.R.T. criteria.”  
Asking Questions Without Interrogating!
“What have you noticed in terms of your trends in this particular behavior?”
“What do you think is the root cause?”
“To be even more effective, I wonder how you can take your strength in ______________ and apply it to ____________?”
“To be even more impactful, have you considered how you might __________________?”
“Last month you committed to ______________. I’ve noticed that has not been taking place. What happened from your perspective?”
“What is your plan going forward“What’s different in your plan now, which makes the likelihood of success stronger than it was before?” 
Probing When You Want More of an Answer
“Keep going/continue, please.”
“Dig deeper, please… you are on to something.”

“This is helpful… tell me more, please.”  

Sometimes having a few extra word choices in your arsenal can make all the difference—for both confidence and results!