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The SOON Coaching Framework

The shift in workplace coaching from directive to empowering approaches reflects the evolving demands of the knowledge economy. Traditional management methods, which often involve giving direct instructions, are becoming less effective. Modern coaching emphasizes helping employees take ownership of their work and solutions. This transition, however, presents challenges for many managers who are accustomed to the older model and may lack the skills required for the newer approach.

Questioning skills are the key differentiator between exceptional coaches and their peers. Exceptional coaches engage in deliberate curiosity, asking questions that foster deep learning, independence, problem-solving at the root level, decision-making clarity, and ownership among employees.

The SOON funnel simplifies the coaching process into four essential categories: Success, Obstacles, Options, and Next Steps. This model facilitates structured conversations that can lead to quick and effective results, often within minutes.

  • Success: Focusing on possibilities rather than problems enhances learning and ownership. Questions about success help define goals, create milestones, and increase motivation.
  • Obstacles: Identifying and prioritizing challenges are crucial for understanding what prevents goal achievement. This step involves diagnosing the issues at play.
  • Options: Encouraging multiple solutions fosters creativity and flexibility. This step moves away from the fixed mindset that there’s only one solution to a problem.
  • Next Steps: Defining actionable steps helps clarify and track progress, fostering optimism and a sense of control.

The questions associated with each category of the SOON funnel, aimed at facilitating effective coaching conversations, are as follows:

Success Questions

  • What do you hope to achieve with this project?
  • What would tell you you’ve reached your goal?
  • What is your definition of “finished”?

These questions are designed to help the person being coached to envision success, set clear goals, and establish criteria for completion.

Obstacles Questions

  • What is preventing you from achieving your goal or success?
  • What is stopping you? What is holding you back?
  • What concerns you most about it?

These questions aim to uncover and prioritize the challenges or barriers that are preventing progress towards the goal.

Options Questions

  • What have you tried so far?
  • Would you like to brainstorm ideas?
  • If you could do anything you wanted, what would you do?

By exploring various solutions and alternatives, these questions encourage creativity and flexibility, moving beyond the assumption that there is only one possible solution.

Next Steps Questions

  • What is the first small step? What’s an even smaller step you can take?
  • You gave yourself a rating of X out of 10. What would it take to move your score by one point?
  • What is the action plan?
  • What action will you take?

These questions are focused on identifying actionable steps towards achieving the goal, thereby facilitating progress and fostering a sense of self-efficacy and control.

Together, these questions form the SOON funnel, a powerful tool for coaches to guide conversations towards productive outcomes, empowering the coachee to take ownership of their development and success.

Page last modified: 2024-03-05 12:43:19