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How to coach your team on setting OKRs

Updated: Sep 2, 2019

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.


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.


1) Collaboration is key


During OKR coaching, remember 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 them discover business metrics to be measured and what would make it aspirational. In short, ask them “What questions & not Why questions.”


Here’s a sample OKR coaching conversation:

Marketing Manager: What would be a good objective 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 objective 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 !


2. 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 and acknowledging them when their actions result in the desired outcomes.

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


3. Build Accountability

A great coach enables coachees to take accountability for key result areas and initiatives. In a study conducted by Fitbots, we found that Gen Ys and Zs align with OKRs because it helps them own it and be accountable.


4. Focus on outcomes

During most feedback conversations, team members and managers tend to repeatedly connect past issues with current problems. This does not help them progress.

Once the past has been discussed, channel 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 into Fitbots.



About the author: Richa Arvind is a researcher, leadership coach and a learner. Her passion is to research new trends on performance management & employee engagement. She manages content strategy for Fitbots.



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