In fact, it’s still the best method for encouraging people and teams to reach their full potential. Coaching helps the team grow. It encourages self belief and self-development, and promotes self-sufficiency in the team.
Stick with me and I will give you concrete guidance that’ll have you asking the right coaching questions and see the team grow.
Helping Teams to Reach Their Full Potential
Want to improve team performance, and set realistic goals?
Start with questions first.
Effective business coaching is all about the questions. Helping people to think about their options and what they should do encourages self belief and self-development.
It starts by asking the right kind of coaching questions.
Starting with these tested questions can help the team to sort out problems for themselves, which in turn should translate into improved team performance. I’ll demonstrate several winning coaching questions and explain why they work. What’s more, I will show you how to shape your own coaching questions.
But first, let’s examine the GROW model, and why this can be confusing when trying to coach. The answer may not be what you think.
The GROW Model
The purpose of the GROW model is to structure coaching conversations. It goes like this:
Goal – What does the team want to achieve?
Reality – What is stopping the team from achieving the goal?
Options – What are the options that may help the team make progress?
Will – What action will the team take?
And here lies the problem. The GROW model follows a series of sequential steps. It portrays a journey that starts with a goal.
In the workplace, coaching may not start with a goal. Often the team may face a problem or be seeking new ways to improve on something. So, it seems reasonable to begin coaching at any of the four stages.
What’s more, we must remember that the GROW model is simply a framework. Merely following the process is not the same as coaching. If you use it, be flexible and make sure you respond to what the person is saying and ask the right questions!
Coaching is helping people to think things through for themselves. Coaching challenges how people think.
How to Shape Effective Coaching Questions
Now, let’s look at some of the most effective types of coaching questions — originally published by Scott Bradbury in their video, Coaching: The Power of Questions.
Their advice is clear and memorable. Use any of the different types of coaching questions, and in any order:
- will it fly? and
- do it by?
Make sure, you use open questions, and practice using them regularly. Here are some suggestions to get you started.
These coaching questions help the team to clarify an issue, problem or choice. Because the first step to problem solving starts with a clear unambiguous definition of the problem, these questions help the person or team to think clearly about the issue.
So, ask the following questions:
- How would you describe the problem?
- What exactly do you want to achieve?
- What are you trying to understand?
- Tell me, how did the situation arise?
- How do you see the facts?
- When you say this, what do you mean?
Use these questions to simplify the problem. Since most problems are open-ended, this usually means the person is thinking about all the possibilities.
These questions help when people are too involved to understand a situation clearly:
- What do you think are the important issues?
- How will you use this information?
- If that wasn’t a problem, how would this change things?
- Can you break your goal into smaller steps?
- What will it help you do?
There are lots of ways to solve a problem. Use these coaching questions to help the team come up with new ideas and possibilities:
- What solutions have you considered?
- What examples can you give?
- What else would you consider?
- Can you think of another explanation?
- If that doesn’t work, what else could you try?
4. Will it fly?
Once the team has identified some options it is time to consider them in greater detail. Remember, when asking these question it’s okay to use the occasional closed question.
Use these coaching questions to evaluate each option:
- How long will it take to do that?
- What sort of problems do you think you may encounter?
- Do you have the budget to do this?
- What support do you need to make this work?
5. Do it by?
Finally, the coach should help the team finalise their choices and commit them to take positive action:
- What have you decided to do?
- Is everyone in agreement?
- When will you start?
- How will you check progress?
Finally, remember you don’t have to ask every type of question nor approach them in any particular order. Also, avoid going around in circles!
The objective of business coaching is to encourage people and teams to reach their full potential … which means helping people set goals and achieve them.
Clarify … Simplify … Multiply … Will it fly? … Do it by?
Want to know more about leading teams?
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Creative Commons image courtesy Walk ‘n Boston.