Busy managers can coach for success…


Most of us when we think of coaching we think of slow, takes forever to get results, how could I coach anyone, I am not qualified and anyway I really do not have the time.

There are many myths about coaching and one of them is that coaching is a slow process.  Yes, it can be slow, but it can be fast also.  It really depends on a variety of factors, mainly, the complexity of the issue which is the focus of coaching; the timeframe for change and the nature of the person being coached.

If that all sounds too complex, and a bit executive coach-like, here are a few ideas to consider:


Take the coaching model ‘GROW ‘ and try it out in a safe environment.  Maybe at home or with a trusted colleague:

G – goal:        agree on an ‘area of interest’, the general focus for coaching, then a                                     specific goal for the coaching session that moves the area of interest                                   forward; worded positively and in the present tense

R – reality       examine the reality around the goal: all experiences to date

O – options    explore the various options available and ‘offer’ more choices only when                             fully  explored

W – will          agree on the options that will work best to achieve the goal and address                               any barriers;  frame the goal in the ‘SMART’ format with milestones, to help                         ensure a  successful outcome

For more on GROW and also on SMART goal-setting, click to read two short blog posts.


Here are a few winning questions to ask, ones that have been proven to work really well in probing beneath the surface to get to thinking, learning and understanding:

Tell me more about….?       In what way did….?       If you did know, what would you do?

Give me an example of ….?         What else?         Is there more?

What might be holding you back?  If you didn’t have that holding you back, what would you do?       If a close friend were in this position, what would you advise them to do?

Ask a different type of question to the more directive ones that managers normally use:

  • No ‘Why’ questions
  • A plethora of ‘vague’ questions
  • Lots of ‘hypothetical’ questions
  • Some questions that sound like you are asking yourself, for example:  I notice…        I wonder /I am wondering…         It occurs to me that….    I’m imagining that….

So, if highly competitive and pressurised organisations such as Google, invest in coaching as a valuable approach for managers, why not give it a go and see what happens, you might be very surprised at how rewarding it is:

“I never cease to be amazed at the power of the coaching process to draw out the skills or talent that was previously hidden within an individual, and which invariably finds a way to solve a problem previously thought unsolvable”.  (John Russell, Managing Director, Harley―Davidson Europe)

Anne Marie

Anne Marie Crowley runs an interactive and practical one-day workshop with optional follow-up, on ‘The Manager as Coach’ for managers in busy work environments. Make contact on: crowleyannem@gmail.com/+353 (0)863630248


Anne Marie Crowley BA MSc Dip.Coaching, based in Cork Ireland, is a free-lance Coach and Trainer in the field of behavioural change for individuals and business 

(Note: many thanks to Hilary Cooke – Merlin-Consultancy – for the wonderful insight into coaching questions and ongoing inspiration in the fields of coaching and training)

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