In theory, OKR makes sense. But it’s applying the principle in practice when organizations tend to struggle most. Wondering why? Or are you in the same boat?
The thing is that we’re conditioned to focus on outputs: the projects and tasks we complete. There’s no doubt that this work is important. And it’s so gratifying to get something done and check it off your list. But if you don’t know why you’re working on the project or task in the first place, aren’t you wasting your time?
A framework like OKR however, takes your work to another level and switches your mindset to focus on the outcomes: the “why” behind the work you’re doing and its business impact. And truth be told, transitioning from an output to an outcome mindset can be challenging and you may need a helping hand.
Why do you need an OKR coach?
This is where an OKR coach can be an invaluable resource. They ensure your OKRs are aligned with the outcome-oriented framework and that your program follows best practices.
As an OKR coach, having helped hundreds of organizations successfully implement OKR over the past 4 years, I’ve come to learn what it is that organizations appreciate most when looking for an OKR coach. So you might be wondering, what makes a good OKR coach?
Here are the top 4 traits you should be looking for:
Asks the right questions
A good coach is curious and doesn’t make assumptions. You (the client) have all the information your coach needs and then it’s their job to surface the important information that’s critical to determining the right goals and next steps for your OKR program.
The coaching process is dynamic and interactive. The focus is on discovery to ensure they have enough context. In doing so, your coach may raise important thoughts that may not have been previously considered. Such topics will inspire productive conversations amongst your group about priorities and areas of focus.
While it’s important to ask the right questions, it’s critical that the coach listens intently to your answers. Your coach has the benefit of being an independent and objective third party who can take the information without bias and share their perspective.
As a result, your coach will help you to confirm your priorities and identify problems that need to be solved. And in the process, they’ll help determine how to best represent your outcome-oriented goals that align with your organization’s strategy.
Teaches you how to farm
The best teachers give you the skills or tools that you need in order to venture into the world yourself. Each coaching session is a learning opportunity for the client to better understand the framework and process.
With OKR, a good coach should give you the confidence and tools to ask the right questions, identify priorities, and represent the business impact.
And most importantly, your coach’s goal should be that you don’t need them in the future, instead of making you dependent on them. And I always tell my clients that my goal is to teach them to farm (or fish).
Shares best practices
OKR is a universal framework that can be applied to all industries. A coach has the benefit of working with hundreds of different clients and requirements, and thus implementations. That experience is invaluable and provides you with the opportunity to learn from others.
A coach wants to set you up for success and sharing the successful tactics of others supports this aim. You’ll still have the autonomy to experiment, as you should. But having insight into what helped others succeed can help you make informed decisions, and understand your different options and their benefits, as well as the challenges.
I understand that it can be overwhelming knowing you need to work with OKR the “right” way in order to succeed. Don’t worry, that’s what an OKR coach is there for — they’ll guide you and be that resource you need to ensure your OKR program is on the right track.
You can also have a lot of fun in the process! Plus, you’ll likely learn a lot about your company and team’s needs too.
Don’t believe me? Here’s what some of our clients have to say about our coaching:
“Our coach was extremely knowledgeable and patient. She asked thoughtful questions and pulled out good information from us. She was terrific and we will be working with her again.” – Fuel
“Our coach was amazing! Using the information our team brought to the meeting, she helped us find the Objectives, Key Results, and Initiatives by guiding us through and helping us to find them – rather than dictating the answers to us. Her style went a long way to teach us how to proceed into the process further and not just set up boxes to put information in.” – Proposify
“Our coach is a wizzard when it comes to listening, asking the right questions and seeing the possibilities in perfecting our company goals and key results. Working with her is extremely valuable.” – Vereniging Ouderpeilpun
Looking for help with your OKR program? Check out our flexible coaching packages.