Module 5: Developing Options

Module Five: Developing Options

This module discusses how to explore options that will enable your employee to move towards the goal that was set before them. This is the next component or the “O” in the GROW model. This is the pivotal step in the coaching process. If done correctly, you will engage your employee and create a desire for them to improve. If done incorrectly, your employee will disengage and they probably will fail again. It is the coach’s job to create this participative environment. Let us look and see how.

Identifying Paths

Many times, we feel that we have to outline the specific actions and employee has to take in order to reach the stated goal. While this may make you feel better, the likely hood of this action becoming meaningful to your employee is close to nil. Let us quickly review what we have done so far. You established what the goal is. There is usually very little wiggle room when it comes to a performance goal. It is the plain, unchangeable business reality. Next, we established the current state of affairs with respect to your employee’s performance. This historical and factual reality is also unchangeable.

Now, let us take it from the employee’s perspective. How in control do they feel? Would they shut down if we, as their coach, solely determine the action steps they are going to take? They might. It is imperative to keep the employee engaged. If not, the rest of the coaching session is just a one-way discussion, leaving your employee powerless in his or her own development.

When you allow your employee to participate in the development of their options, you get B.I.G. results. B.I.G. results stand for the following benefits:

  • Buy-in by your employee, because the options developed was a collaborative effort
  • Innovation, because more creativity is possible when two work at it
  • Growth, because the options developed will have more meaning and lasting commitment

Choosing Your Final Approach

Deciding on which option to implement could be frustrating. The best thing to do is to implement a consistent method to determining the best possible option. The APAC section of the B.I.G. template is designed to help you come to a quick decision on which option to implement. Here is how it works.

After you have brainstormed your options with your employee, assess the pros of each option. Determine the benefits and possible rewards to selection that option. Write those benefits in the template. Next, assess the cons for each option. Here are some things to consider:

  • Resources needed
  • Cost
  • Time
  • Return on investment
  • Disruption of the business

All of these factors could rule out an option. Once you identify the cons place those in the corresponding area on the template. Next, determine the top five options that are feasibility to implement. Use a rating scale from 1-5 and place that in the rating column. Now, you are ready to rate the relevancy of the options identified as feasible. Rate the relevancy of the options to the goal. Here are some things to consider when rating this category:

  • Does this option build new supporting skills?
  • Does this option meet the time requirement of the goal?
  • Is this option measurable?

Once you determine the relevancy, you are able to multiply the feasibility rating with the relevancy rating. The highest number is possibly your best option. Remember to gain consensus from your employee on this option.

Structuring a Plan

Since you have your employee’s attention, it is best to begin the planning process. Structuring a plan as soon as possible sends the message to your employee you mean business when it comes to implementing the option. For example: your SMART goal may be to increase the sales attempt rate from five percent to seven in 30 days. Next, you and your employee may have agreed to focus on asking open-ended questions during a sales call as their option, giving them more information to help them attempt better. When are they going to start asking those questions? How many are they going to ask? These are action items you want document in a preliminary plan.

The 3T questioning technique helps you document three major milestones. Basically, you ask, “What are you going to do:

  • Tomorrow?
  • Two weeks from today?
  • Thirty days from today?

You may need to guide your employee when answering the first question. Remember the more time you let pass from the time you coach them and the time you implement your first action step, you could be losing precious information discussed in your coaching session. Here is an example of how the earlier scenario could be developed:

Coach: “You said you wanted to ask more open-ended questions to help you attempt better sales. Great, what steps are you going to take tomorrow to begin that process? ”
Employee: “I can try asking an open ended question on every few calls.”
Coach: “Do you think you can ask a question on every third call?”
Employee: “Okay, I will try to ask on every third call.”
Coach: “Let’s look ahead two weeks from now. Do you think you can increase the frequency to every other call?”
Employee: “That sounds fair.”
Coach: “Great, now, let’s shoot to ask questions on every call 30 days from now. What do you think?”
Employee: “I believe I can do this or get really close.”
Coach: “Let’s write this down on paper and put a final plan together.”

Once you get to this point, you are ready to begin drafting your final plan. Let us see what this involves.

Case Study

Darren was assigned to help Perry by coaching him. Perry didn’t have a big enough budget for marketing. Darren decided it would be best to hear Perry and his ideas on options to solving the issue. After they both collaborated and pulled together some viable options, they had to make a decision. They compared the costs in both time and resources of each option, while also taking the potential return on the investments into consideration. They eventually came to the decision to focus the marketing strategy on a central medium rather than spread it out more thinly. The marketing venture was a success, and it was because of the collaboration of the two of them.