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Three tips for OKR Coach



Recently I have been coaching some companies' CEO who are planning their objectives in Q1, 2021. There are three tips I want to share with you if you are also coaching your clients for the OKR setting.

1. Help clients understand OKR is about improvement, not business-as-usual

A significant difference between objectives in OKR with goals setting in other context is objectives in OKR are about improvement, not day to day routine. When clients are setting objectives, it is easier for them to think about what they need to finish from their tasks list.

We need to guide them to think about the critical objectives they need to achieve if they want to have a breakthrough in their business or if they want to get new ideas or opportunities to improve the process.



With tons of routines to perform daily, it is understood that our clients are working in their business. As a coach, our value is to help them to take one step back and work on their business, not in their business. That’s how OKR helps our clients to get a laser focus on what is important to them.

2. The objectives need to be inspiring

When coaching a telesales director to set OKR to his team, I asked him the most crucial objective he wants to achieve in Q1 2021. His answer is: set up a telesales department in this company.

This is objective is clear, and I predict a tremendous amount of effort will be needed behind the scene. But if this objective is presented to the whole team, it may sound like a task to them.



So I suggest the director make it more inspiring to motivate his team to sweat over this objective through the coming quarter no matter how challenging the market competition is.

The director accepted my advice, and he reframed the objective: To build a first-class telesales team in China with profound product knowledge and competitive sales skills.

This draft objective can be further revised later, but it sounds more motivating than the previous one.

3. The key results need to be stretching

When it comes to key results setting, don’t be surprised if your clients keep setting results at the committed level rather than stretching level, even senior management tend to do that.

I have to repeat that if we keep setting “safe” key results for our companies, there will be no improvement, innovation, or change in anything, and eventually, key results may turn into health metrics.

Having said that, I understand that clients have a lot of concern. For example, the fear of failure to achieve stretching key results, the fear of demotivation to team members, the concern of no achievement in front of other departments or teams.



To help them get comfortable setting stretching key results, we have to reframe their minds and prepare them with the new mindset: what are stretching key results, and why are they important? How to retain the morale of your team even if they fail to achieve stretching key results? And emphasize the “reset and reflect” function of OKR: let them know that scoring of key results does not evaluate team members’ performance but emphasizing learning during the journey. That means a low score of key results does not mean failure, and a high score of key results does not guarantee final successes.

If you are interested to have your company or your team's 2021 Q1 OKR set, please feel free to book the complimentary 1 hour with me here: 1 hour complimentary OKR coaching

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