Coaching is a great way to help your team develop and deliver results at the same time. We’ve compiled the best and most powerful coaching questions for managers using the GROW coaching model as a guide.
GOAL coaching questions
These GOAL coaching questions assume that your team member is bringing the topic of discussion to you. If you’re raising the topic, remove the first question and start by introducing the topic.
- What would you like to discuss?
- What do you feel would be the ideal outcome for this?
- What would the future look like if this was achieved?
- How will you know you’ve achieved the goal?
- How are you going to measure your success?
- So, how would you define your goal?
- What can you add that will make this goal more Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound?
REALITY coaching questions
This is the part of the GROW model where you’ll typically spend most time in discussion. Allow for an in-depth exploration and allow your team member time to reflect. Often your team member will identify useful insights as they explore the current reality.
The introductory questions are:
- What is the situation right now?
- What steps have you already taken?
- What else is relevant about the current situation?
Depending on the nature of the topic, probe further with appropriate coaching questions. These should be big, open, neutral questions.
You may also wish to ask questions that probe how your team member is thinking about the current situation:
- What assumptions are you making here?
- What are the stories you’re telling yourself about this situation?
- What values are you applying as you evaluate this situation?
- What are you not yet acknowledging about this situation?
- When you hear yourself say that, what are you thinking now?
- Given what we’ve just discussed, would you make any changes to your goal?
OPTIONS coaching questions
This first set of questions are basic questions that will get you started, but won’t take your team member too far in generating options:
- What is one option for achieving this goal?
- What else?
- What other possibilities are there?
- What else?
Now is also a good time to pick up the pace a little, lean forward, add a little energy to your voice and make this into a brainstorming session. Don’t encourage too much reflection, encourage quick fire answers and generate as many options as possible.
More powerful coaching questions for managers encourage a shift in perspective, they help your team member to see things in a different way. Use the questions that you feel will be most helpful in creating this shift in perspective (or start to develop your own coaching questions!).
- If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do?
- If you could give yourself an injection of courage, what would you do?
- Who is your hero? What do you think they would advise you to do?
- What do you think XXX would advise you to do? (Insert appropriate name. It could be your CEO, a leading industry figure, a global leader, any name you feel will help create a shift in thinking.)
- If you had 24hrs to solve the problem, what would you do?
- If you had unlimited resources, what would you do?
- What can you do that doesn’t depend on others?
- If a friend of yours was in your shoes, what advice would you give them?
- Would you like some advice from me? What advice do you think I’ll give you?
- So, what were all those options again?
And encourage your team member to summarize and start to prioritize.
WAY FORWARD coaching questions
At this stage, all the options are on the table. Now it’s time to slow down again, encourage more reflective and thoughtful thinking, as your team member moves towards planning the way forward.
- Of all the options, what are you most excited about?
- Which options will you implement?
- On a scale of 1-10, to what extent will implementing these options achieve your goal?
- What else do you need to do, to achieve your goal?
- What might get in the way?
- What do you need to do, to overcome that?
- So, what are your next steps?
- When will you do them?
- How will I know you’ve achieved them?
One of the great coaching skills is to get to a successful outcome by the most direct route (using as few questions as possible). These powerful coaching questions for managers will help you do that. Use the questions as a framework.
If you’re less experienced as a coach, just stick to the list of questions. If you’re more experienced, start to use your judgement to drive to a successful outcome more quickly.
Learn to develop your coaching skills for managers.