Career coaches often get a bad rap. It’s easy to see why. With its low start-up costs, ease of entry, and no qualification requirements this over one-billion dollar business has attracted more than a few con artists. Yet good career coaches can change your life. We aren’t therapists or cheerleaders. The best of us motivate our clients to take action. Which is why data overwhelmingly concludes that coaching improves client’s self-confidence and communication abilities –– not to mention their professional advancement and personal relationships. My clients are passionate and results-orientated. I’ve turned down ones who are unready or unwilling to dive into the deep end. Successful coaching helps people achieve their dreams but it takes work, faith, and energy.
Not every coach does it for a career. If you’re a boss, hopefully you’re a coach as well. Bringing in a trained pro isn’t always an option. So, if you want to help your employees succeed, here are some coaching questions to ask employees.
GROW Their Goals
An acronym for Goal,Current Reality, Options and Will (or Way Forward), GROW is used by many successful coaches. It relies on helping employees come up with their own answers. Coaches start by asking what they want to achieve. It takes a bit of digging to uncover what employees truly want. Besides discovering their goal, you should ask what they would like to accomplish and what will happen when they achieve it. Most importantly, they need to tell you exactly why they want to achieve this goal. If they can’t articulate their motivation they will have a hard time following through. If they are only pursuing an objective because it matters to you, it’s unlikely they will succeed.
Reality on Reality’s Terms
Living in fantasyland is easy. To achieve their objectives your employees must first understand current reality. This means telling you what is going on in the workplace and how it is affecting their environment. Important coaching questions to ask employees include what steps have they taken towards achieving their goal and where are they now –– how close are they to the finish line? As a boss, you need to help them gauge their realistic position. Often we wildly underestimate what is needed to complete an objective. That’s why you should also ask why they haven’t reached their goal and what is stopping them. Remember, this session isn’t about criticism it’s about achievement. If they had already reached their goal, they wouldn’t need your coaching.
Keep Your Options Open
During the coaching session you will help your employee come up with solutions to their problems. The best way to do that is go over their options. Explore the steps needed to achieve their goal. Discuss what the first step should be and what they should do differently. This is a great time to craft teams as you seek employee input about who is best able to help. You should see if they have attempted similar goals before. If they didn’t achieve them, what could they have done differently? Another great query is if anything was possible, what would they choose to do?
The Path Forward
GROW’s final step is about the employee’s commitment and you helping them with an action plan. The Will or Way Forward model’s coaching questions to ask employees includes asking how they are going to go about achieving the goal and what their current needs are. It’s important that they can tell you exactly how they’ll know when the goal can be checked off. Organize around possible obstacles and give them the goals to achieve.
Coaching anyone is never straightforward. Everyone is different. Yet just spending quality time focused on helping your employees achieve their goals can pay unimaginable dividends.