How to coach your team on setting OKRs for team development

April 23, 2021
3 min read
Coaching

Your organization has made that great decision to adopt OKRs. Your CEO has set the tone for Organizational OKRs, and as a People Manager, you are passed the mantle to coach your team members to set OKRs. You’re wondering how to get started on setting OKRs for team development.

It’s becoming increasingly certain that organizations are placing thrust on building a goal-driven culture using frameworks like OKR. (New to OKR? Read our earlier blog posts on OKRs and Implementing an OKR framework.)

Here are some practices summarized by our coaches on how to coach your team to setting great OKRs.

Collaboration is key

The most crucial thing to remember during OKR coaching: Speaking less is more. Be a patient listener and encourage members to share their understanding of the Organizational or Business group objectives. Ask open-ended questions to help the team to measure the important business metrics. Also, ask the coach what would make the metrics aspirational. In short, ask your coach “What questions & not the Why questions.”

Here’s an example of an OKR coaching conversation:

Marketing Manager: What would be a good aim to align towards the organizational objective of ‘Increasing Revenue by 30% by acquiring new accounts’?

Team: We could take an objective titled ‘Increase Inbound’

Marketing Manager: Tell me more about how would you measure this aim of increasing inbound?

Team: Probably if we ‘Optimize the funnel of Marketing Qualified leads’ would be a better way to phrase it.

Marketing Manager: That sounds like a much better objective. What would be a good KR (Key Result Area)?

Team: KR 1: Launch five inbound campaigns to increase free trial sign-ups by 20%.

Marketing Manager: Great going!

Stay Committed

As a Manager- coach, it’s important to keep these discussions continuous. We have witnessed high-performing teams drive goal discipline through daily or weekly check-ins. You could set the rhythm that works best.

Show your commitment by having follow-up discussions, providing additional support wherever needed. You should acknowledge the team when their actions lead to the desired outcomes.

Your commitment as a manager goes a long way in building the team’s accountability.

Building Accountability with OKR

A great coach enables coachees to take accountability for key result areas and initiatives. According to a study conducted by Fitbots, we found that Gen Ys and Zs tend to align with OKRs. The main reason for it being is OKRs help them to be accountable for their actions.

OKRs drive team development by helping focus on outcomes

We noticed the problems faced by various firms were similar during the feedback conversations. It was observed that team members and managers tend to repeatedly connect past issues with current problems. This does not help them progress.

Help the team to channelize the past discussions to understand how lessons from the past can be applied to take the right steps for achieving outcomes. Reset some of their goals or KRs to align learnings. Encourage them to believe in their potential and capabilities.

“A good coach will make his players see what they can be rather than what they are” — Ara Parasheghian.

Want to learn more about how to implement an OKR & Check In Culture? Write to us.