How And When To Delegate

A Vital Life Coaching Skill

Knowing how and when to delegate is a vital life coaching skill, especially in work or business situations. Here are some great points for educating your clients in mastering the art of delegation;

What Can Be Delegated?

Knowing what to delegate is important at work, in your business and even at home. 

How to master the art of delegation and eliminate overwhelm

Overwhelm - having too much to do and not enough time to do it, is one of the biggest issues coaching clients bring to the table. 

Your ability to coach your clients to realize and appreciate that they don't have to do everything themselves will have a huge impact on their business and personal lives.

But the answer is not just about getting someone else to do things.

The art of delegation is about managing the process elegantly and smoothly. The aim is to delegate but keep control.

So what can you delegate

  • Tasks that consume your time but are not necessarily the best use of your time

  • Things you are not particularly good at, or don’t like doing and someone else could do better. For instance if, like me,  you are hopeless at proof reading,  get bored and can’t trust yourself not to miss errors.

A good way to learn how to delegate is to keep a diary of everything you do throughout the day for a few days at and home and at work and keep asking yourself “Is this the best use of my time?” or “Could somebody else be doing this?”.

Use These Important Steps of Delegation

  • Make a list of all possible activities or projects you might consider delegating be it an ongoing delegation or a specific project. (Anything from coffee making to event management for instance)
  • Don’t censor yourself; you can always change your mind as you work through the list (but please don’t decide you really can still do it all yourself☺).
  • If at work organise feedback or meetings for long or complex jobs and specify how and when this feedback is to be given.

In this short video, Time Management Expert Robyn Pearce
takes you through the importance of mastering delegation.


Three Delegation Mistakes To Avoid

  1. Abdication: The first is “delegation by abdication”. That is, just tell a subordinate, or whoever, to just get on with the job without giving them proper instructions or a context for what they have to do and by when. And then carpeting them when they don’t get it right!

  2. Too much information! Of course instructions need to be given but the second mistake, I believe, is giving them too much instruction as to exactly approach the task. That is insisting they do it your way rather than the way that is going to work best for them.

    In this context, you might find it useful to read how I use the Kolbe™ Index in helping clients understand how best they and their staff operate. And there are many other profiling tools that are useful in this regard.

  3. No Acknowledgement:  And finally, a huge mistake is not to acknowledge the delegatee sufficiently when the project is completed, or even give praise along the way.

    Acknowledgment is so important to people and I find disappointment and frustration at work is often because many executives and CEO’s fail to give their staff enough positive encouragement and feedback.

10 Tips On How And When To Delegate 

  1. Understanding: Make sure those you are delegating to have a clear understanding of the task required, the outcome and by when it is to be completed. Make them feel an important part of the project.

  2. Specificity: Be specific about what guidelines must be followed (company policy etc) and where can the 'delagatee' use their own initiative and method to reach the outcome.

  3. Resources: Give information on where to find resources available to help them with the task. Advise what is available and what may be needed.

  4. Reporting: Initiate a time-line for them to report back to you on progress.

  5. Give the big picture:  Make sure the delegatee knows the place the task has in the overall project and what the positive outcome of their completion of the task is.

  6. Let Go! Once you have delegated and set up a framework for reporting, let them get on with it and get out of the way.

  7. More let go: Where possible, avoid delegating methods (we all have our own best way of doing things), rather concentrate on results.

  8. Be Available: Be available and approachable for help if needed but avoid being too intrusive so they feel you don't trust them.

  9. Encourage them to think for themselves! Have a policy that before they come to you for help, they have thought up some possible solution/s themselves. Avoid poo pooing those solutions, however untenable, rather acknowledge and add your opinion and expertise to theirs.

  10. Be realistic: Where relevant, ask the delegatee how long they think they need to complete the job. Encourage them to be realistic and not over-promise.

And finally, make you delegatees accountable. Part of the art of delegation and your personal time management at work and at home is encouraging your staff/team/family to be more responsible and accountable. Make them feel good about helping you and contributing to the overall big picture.

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