Checking back in

I try to help people. Sometimes that help is simply listening. Sometimes that help is providing advice. Sometimes that help is comprised of many things. Recently, at the scrum gathering, I was able to connect and help several people.

Here’s the twist: I don’t like helping in the moment and then moving on. So over the years, I’ve developed a couple of techniques to help me remember to check back in on people afterwards. Jake Calabrese often highlights that coaching continues after the coaching session ends (people keep thinking and exploring). So if I don’t check in (follow up) with people, I don’t believe I’m truly supporting them. And that’s my ultimate goal – supporting people.

First, I’ll give the technique I use most today as an external coach/trainer. I have a list of items to do – yes, in a Trello board. I have a column dedicated to simply checking in on people. I will add the name and a target time frame to follow up. Sometimes that follow is simply an email asking how they are, sometimes a call, sometimes a meeting, etc. The medium often depends on the topic or reason for following up. I find that if I don’t create this list, time can just get away from me. All the good intentions but then suddenly months have gone by and reaching out seems not as valuable.

Second, is the technique I used as a leader in an organization. I would add the note to my calendar of the topic to follow-up on for our next 1-1. Or schedule a follow up meeting immediately. My lists were always so long that the check in never seemed to bubble to the top. However, if it was on my calendar – it happened naturally when we were connected.

Even if the person doesn’t need any more help, you are demonstrating that you value them by checking in. Adjust your process to help you give it the attention it deserves.

How do you check back in with others?

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