3 experienced managers share their best one-on-one conversation tips
Great managers know that one-on-one conversations play a key role in the success of each individual on your team—including yourself. These dedicated …
One-on-one meetings with employees are a time to touch base on their workload and deliverables. They’re also the perfect moment to address any questions that they have for you, or that you have for them. It can be challenging to know what’s most important to discuss during one-on-ones, but by focusing on asking the right questions, you can guide the conversation and support your employee’s growth.
These important conversations between a manager and their direct report are more than just a time to catch up: they’re an opportunity for coaching and mentorship. Use the questions outlined in this article to make sure you cover all the right bases in your next one-on-one meeting, so your 1-on-1s drive employee engagement.
The GROW coaching model helps make one-on-one conversations effective and impactful. By asking the right question at the right time, you can guide your team members through uncovering their own solutions, and driving their own development.
Keep this framework in mind when structuring your meeting agenda. Use the one-on-one meeting questions outlined below to coach employees through these four steps and in setting action items.
Sometimes, it takes a bit of discussion to uncover the most important subject for a one-on-one meeting, especially when you’re having one-on-ones with remote employees. Opening up your regular conversations with a question from the list below will help you create a personal connection before you put on your coaching hat.
Did you know? Asking the right questions in one-on-ones is a challenge for many managers, but you don’t have to face it alone. Officevibe’s one-on-one software helps you plan, track, and follow-up on every conversation in one place. Plus, dozens of recommended talking points like the questions above live in our Conversation Engine so you get to the topics that matter most, every time. Try it free.
Start by making sure you and your team member want the same thing out of the meeting. This can vary depending on a number of factors, so always check in at the start of the conversation. Employees might need guidance, a sounding board, clarification, or something else. Use these questions to establish a common objective.
Once you’ve set your shared intention for the conversation, your employee can fill you in on the details you’ll need to coach them and give feedback effectively. If someone is struggling to manage their work-life balance, there might be things going on in their personal life that you’re not aware of or you might not have a clear picture of their full workload. Asking open-ended questions, and a few more specific questions when needed, will help you have the right context to work through the situation together.
With a solid foundation for understanding, you can begin weighing different options for how to proceed with your team member. For example, if someone is disagreeing with a colleague on how to tackle a problem, you can discuss how they might speak with their coworker directly, or bring in other team members to make it a group decision. The questions outlined below will help you explore various approaches to the situation at hand during your one-on-one meeting.
Successful meetings end with establishing next steps and setting action items that you can follow up on in your next one-on-one. These questions can help you clarify the output of your discussion, so you can both walk away feeling that you’re going in the right direction.
If agreeing to next steps is important, tracking them is even more so. Officevibe’s 1-on-1 software lets you assign every Action Item (to your team member or yourself!) at the end of each 1-on-1. Then, it sends you an email on Mondays to remind you of your commitments. Action Items automatically carry over to your next 1-on-1 agenda within the platform, so you never lose track of what you both said you’d do. Sign up free!
By following the steps of the GROW coaching model and asking the right questions at the right time, you’re sure to guide your employees through problem solving in every one-on-one meeting. Try these questions out in your next one-on-one, and share this list with another manager who you think it could help!