Once you have quickly acknowledged your colleagues’ outreach, you need to keep them updated on the status of their outreach. You may not have started working on it yet or you have been working on it and you don’t have a response yet. By keeping your colleagues updated, you will benefit in the following ways:
There is a big difference between acknowledging an outreach and providing an answer to the outreach. You may not have the answer or you may not have the time to provide the answer at that moment. Regardless of the situation and in order to help your colleagues make progress, you do need to acknowledge your colleagues. By acknowledging receipt of an email or a phone message, you will benefit in the following ways:
Although you cannot control the number of inbound outreaches to you, you can set expectations regarding how your colleagues will hear back from you. Expectations are the boundaries you create which reflect your unique style, calendar and workload. Here are some ways to set expectations/boundaries with your colleagues:
You may feel that you should not respond to colleagues until you have the answer to their questions or requests. You may assume that others know you are working on their problem and you don’t feel a need to keep them updated. You may rationalize that you are too busy to get back to anyone except your boss. While these are reasonable perspectives, days could go by before you have an answer (especially if you are dependent on others for information) and colleagues who originally reached out to you may feel forgotten. Without a response or an update, your colleagues are unsure if you received their email or if you are working on their request at all, allowing frustration to grow and progress to stall.
As my tenure as a coach grows, and as I meet an increasing number of client prospects, I have noticed recurring themes among individuals who do not think about working with a coach, or who do not want a coach, which I have recapped below.