August 10, 2023

The COACH Framework: Empowering Managers to Build Success

A guide to support managers in becoming catalysts for growth and success

Coaching has emerged as a powerful approach for managers to unlock the potential of their teams and drive outstanding results. In an effort to provide managers with a practical and memorable framework for learning how to coach, Bravely has created the COACH framework.

Each letter in COACH represents a key element that empowers managers to excel in their coaching role. The framework equips managers with a powerful tool to unleash the potential of their team members and foster a culture of growth and achievement.

Here’s a brief introduction and overview of the COACH framework as well as a little guidance on how to begin making use of this helpful leadership tool.

C — Concern: What’s on your mind?

The first step in a 1:1 coaching conversation is to understand the concern or the situation that is top of mind for the team member being coached. Effective managers actively listen to their team members’ concerns and create a safe space for open dialogue to be shared. By empathetically listening to concerns, and asking thoughtful follow-up questions, a manager can help their employee get clear on the situation or problem at hand.

O — Objective: What do you want to happen? What’s the objective?

Once the team member’s concern or problem has been established and explored, it’s time to move to the next stage of the conversation. Here, the coach — the manager — should ask questions that guide the employee to identify the objective or the outcome they want to achieve. 

Some questions to consider asking include:

  • What would success look like for you?
  • What would be the ideal outcome?
  • Is this the best outcome you can imagine?
  • What are your top priorities for this project?
  • When will you know you have succeeded?
  • What will really make the biggest difference here?
  • What are you willing to do to improve this situation?
  • What will success or achievement look or feel like?

A — Actions: What actions could you take?

Once the objective is established, the conversation moves into brainstorming mode. The goal at this stage is to guide the team member to generate ideas for how to address the Concern. A trap managers often fall into is giving advice or trying to solve the problem for their employee. Instead of diving into advice mode straight away, the COACH framework reminds managers to slow down and ask powerful questions that guide the employee to come up with their own solutions.

Together, managers and team members break down the objectives into manageable tasks or actions. By providing guidance and support, managers empower team members to take ownership of their development and progress. Identifying actionable steps ultimately helps create a roadmap for success and ensures continuous momentum toward achieving the objectives.

C — Commitment: Of all the things we’ve discussed, what will you commit to doing?

After exploring all the possible solutions, it’s time to narrow down the options and guide the employee to make a commitment to a specific action. Encouraging team members to commit to their own ideas instills a sense of ownership and personal investment. Managers hold team members accountable for their commitments by establishing regular check-ins and progress reviews. This accountability promotes a culture of responsibility, where team members take ownership of their growth and development.

H — Help: What help do you need in order to succeed?

A key difference between a professional coach and a manager is that the manager is often collaborating with the employee on projects, sharing tasks and responsibilities, and helping to build connections with cross-functional teams. Because of this, the COACH framework is designed to close the conversation by asking what help, support, or resources the employee needs to be successful as they set out to achieve their goals.

The COACH framework provides managers with a practical and effective approach to coaching their teams. By addressing concerns, defining clear objectives, identifying actions, fostering commitment, and providing help, managers can empower their team members and drive exceptional results.

Remember, the COACH framework is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but a flexible framework that can be adapted to suit individual and team needs. By embracing the COACH framework, managers become catalysts for growth and success. They create an environment of trust, motivation, and accountability, where team members can thrive and achieve their goals.

Want to learn more about this topic and how you can be a better coach to the people you lead? Watch our webinar “How to Listen Like a Coach: Coaching Skills Every Manager Needs.” Learn the skills and practices needed to help you listen and lead like a seasoned coach through the guidance and experiences of our panel of coaches.

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