Ep 86 // GROW your leadership by asking powerful questions

Ep 86

In order to coach others, you first have to be able to coach yourself. In this episode, Akua dives deeper into the engagement pillar of her three-step leadership framework. Engaging with yourself, also called self-regulation and management, is key to being able to support others as they explore their own areas of growth and boundaries. 

As a leader, you want to inspire your employees and motivate them to get their work done by making sure they are excited to come to work and problem-solve. While coaching is not always the right answer, using coaching tools and techniques can go a long way, starting with asking powerful questions.

Akua explains a popular coaching framework that can be used to help people set goals and create a plan of action. Finally, she shares things that held her back from leveraging coaching tools and techniques, which will surely resonate with leaders, managers, and founders in all industries.

Listen, Follow, Review, and Rate the Open Door Conversations Podcast

Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Audible | Amazon Music | Spotify

What's Covered in this Episode About Active Listening

  • Learn the types of questions that lead to effective engagement with team members or employees.
  • Akua explains the GROW model, which stands for Goal, Reality, Options/opportunities, and Will.
  • Learn how the GROW model can help get your team thinking and open to possibilities. 
  • Akua talks about the power of pauses, open-ended questions, and reflecting on what YOU need in order to set yourself up for success as you engage with team members.

If you've enjoyed the Open Door Conversations podcast, please leave a review.

Quotes from this Episode of Open Door Conversations

  • "To effectively coach others, you need to be able to coach yourself first." - Akua Nyame-Mensah
  • "Using coaching tools and techniques or even coaching in general is not helpful in every situation. And I think that effective, inspiring conscious leaders understand that they're aware of. What tends to be helpful is asking powerful questions." - Akua Nyame-Mensah
  • "Coaching is about being future oriented and taking action. It's not about wallowing in the past. And it's really about making the most of the present so that there can be a different future or different outcome." - Akua Nyame-Mensah

Mentioned in GROW your leadership by asking powerful questions

Get to Know the Host of the Open Door Conversations Podcast

Learn more about your host, Akua Nyame-Mensah.

Akua is a certified executive and leadership coach, recognized learning and organizational development facilitator, speaker, and former startup executive. 

Since 2018, she has had the opportunity to partner with amazing organizations, from high-growth startups to multinational brands all around the world, to maximize people, performance, and profit.  Outside of her coaching and corporate speaking engagements, she is a regular mentor, coach, and judge for various entrepreneurship-focused organizations.

Stay in touch with Akua Nyame-Mensah, Leadership & Culture Advisor:

  • Read about Akua’s services if you’d like to learn more about how you can hire her to help you strengthen your organization’s culture.

  • Complete her contact form to jump on a call.

Playlists-Wide Rectangle Ad

Here’s the transcript for episode 86 about the GROW Model

NOTE: Please excuse any errors in this transcript; it was created using an AI tool. Akua Nyame-Mensah 00:00 Step number one to effectively coach others is that you need to be able to coach yourself first. Hello and welcome to the open door conversations podcast. My name is a Korea Nyame-Mensah. I also respond to Aqua and Akua. I'm a certified executive and leadership coach recognised learning and organisational development facilitator, speaker and former startup executive. And I am so excited because this year I'm celebrating five years of working for myself five years of supporting leaders. And I am so grateful because I've had the opportunity to partner with amazing organisations, from hydro startups to multinational brands all around the world, and 2022 alone, I serve over 600 Yes, over 600 leaders around the world. And in this podcast, you will have the opportunity to learn my three step leadership framework. I actually break it down in Episode 71. I use this framework with my high achieving and entrepreneurial minded clients that are juggling a million responsibilities so they can easily build wealth. This three step framework is going to teach you how to leverage your innate personality to learn how to prioritise and maximise not just your time, but also your money. You don't have to work harder or turn into someone else to get more God. Let's tune into this week's episode. Hello, and welcome to this week's podcast episode. We are diving even deeper into the leadership pillar of engagement this week. And we finally have come to engaging with others. But before you listen to this episode, please make sure you take a listen to the first episode of this particular pillar engagement because engaging with yourself first. So that is self regulation and management is key to being able to be curious and support others with exploring their own boundaries and areas for growth. All right, so please make sure you take a listen to that episode. Before you listen to this episode about coaching. One great way to engage and support others is through leveraging coaching tools and techniques. This is a really great way to have an engaging leadership style. And engaging leadership is defined as having leadership behaviours and skills that help to facilitate, strengthen, connect. Most importantly, for some of you listening to this inspire your employees, your teammates, your stakeholders, so that they're more engaged, they're more motivated to get their work done. They're excited to come to work they want to problem solve. There's that psychological safety, they're willing to take risks, and leveraging coaching tools and techniques can help you do that. But I also think it's important to note that no, I don't believe that everyone needs to be a coach that everyone needs professional coaching training, but that everyone can benefit from having a few coaching tools and techniques under their belt. Most importantly, leaders need to learn how to use those tools and techniques, effectively, using coaching tools and techniques or even coaching in general is not helpful in every situation. And I think that effective, inspiring conscious leaders understand that they're aware of that What does tend to be helpful in most situations, is asking powerful questions. As a leader, your top job is to get things done through other people and being able to ask powerful questions, motivating questions, engaging questions, questions that open people up to different possibilities and options can be incredibly helpful. And that's why in this episode, I wanted to share a very common coaching model. It's called the grill model to help you think about how you can leverage powerful questions, which is the key coaching tool or technique in your day to day work. When we talk about powerful questions. We're usually referring to questions that start with what or how these are open questions they create possibility allow people to brainstorm, give people the opportunity to pause and reflect to discover something different in some situations. As a leader, these aren't typically coaching situations, I will say if you're practising sort of pure coaching, you can ask what we describe as information questions. And those are questions that typically cover the who the when the where we typically want to keep those questions to a minimum. If we're really trying to open people up and get them to do something maybe they've never thought they could do or something they've never tried before. The last question you're probably thinking of the why question. We really want to keep those to a minimum, why you might be asking the why question can sometimes the members resistance people can shut down, it can even cause people to flip out in the right situations. So now that you have an idea of the types of questions that lead to effective engagement, what I'd love to do is dive a little bit deeper into the GROW Model. And the grill model helps you order the questions in a way that really helped to get your employee or your stakeholder to start to take action. And that's really, I think, one of the most important things to keep in mind about powerful questioning, it's about opening people up to possibility and then moving them towards taking action. And as I mentioned before, the GROW Model is typically the model that we learn in coaching first, and I think it's a very helpful model that any leader can leverage, a very helpful tool. So what is gross stands for the G stands for goal, the R stands for reality, The O stands for options. Other people might also use the word opportunities. And finally, the W stands for will I like to think about it as the way forward, the idea is that you want to ask questions in this order. And I'll share some examples in a second to get the person you're coaching or engaging with to move towards taking action already alluded to this. And if you've listened to any of my content, or read any of my content about coaching, I'll make sure I leave a few things. Also, in the show notes, I talk about coaching is about being future oriented and taking action. It's not about wallowing in the past. And it's really about making the most of the present so that there can be a different future or different outcome. So now I want to dive a little bit deeper into the different parts of the growth framework. As I mentioned before, the first part of the framework, which is the G is the goals. And with the goals, what you really want to be focusing on are questions that really help your employee or stakeholder get to a point where they know what they want to have happen. So a quick question could be what do you want to achieve? If you have an idea of the timeline or the timeframe, it could be in relation to that. So you could ask a question like what needs to happen in the next three months? One of my favourites and this is what I tend to start with is what does success look like? That works really well? For me, it really resonates with me. And that's actually what I asked myself as well. As I mentioned earlier, in the introduction of this episode, you have to learn to coach yourself first. So use these questions on yourself first, another great question here as it relates to the G or the goal is what decisions must you make? All right, and what we're trying to do with this first letter, the G is help our employee or stakeholder gain some clarity. And the second element of them gaining some clarity is getting a better understanding of their present. And that gets us to the second letter, which is our reality. And that's all about what's happening now. And through asking questions around. Where are you with this particular element? What do you see as potential blockers? Where is the challenge, you're not trying to problem solve, but you're trying to get a better understanding of their context. And this is really where as a leader, you're meant to be actively listening. So make sure you take a listen to that episode, from the first pillar self awareness around listening and communicating that will be very helpful with helping yourself right have that self regulation, self manage, so you can truly actively listen and support your stakeholder or your coachee or your employee. So those are the first two elements of the role model goals and reality. So what do you want to have happen? What is happening now? Let's get to the third one that's options. So with options or opportunities, a key question here could be what could you do? Right? So opening up those possibilities? What could you do to make this happen? And the idea here is you're trying to generate all the possibilities you can, you want to make sure that they're able to brainstorm. Starting a list can be helpful for some customers, or some clients, or some coaches, or some stakeholders, whatever you want to call them, but really just recognising, pausing and creating space so they can start to really have options. So some additional questions you could ask here are what might you do? What can other people do in your shoes? What other options are there? What might help to overcome the obstacles, especially if that particular person brought up obstacles within the reality section? All right, who else needs to be involved can also be a great way to help expand their awareness and think about what is possible. It's all about getting those possibilities and opening them up. So at this point, they should have some level of clarity, they should have a bit of alignment and some ideas on what's possible. The next step, and probably the most important step as it relates to thinking about coaching, because it is future oriented and action oriented is what will you do the way forward. So really thinking about that last letter, which is w, so all about will. And so when we're thinking about way forward, or will, that's really how we close out that conversation to make sure that they're about to take action, and they're going to do something next, they have an idea of their direction. So now that they have alignment, what will they commit to? So that's something a lot of coaches will ask at the end of conversations. What will you commit to? If you're having a conversation with your employee, it might be more along the lines of what's the next step? And how can I support you? With getting closer to that next step, you can also do some potential problem solving when you're thinking about the way forward and really reflecting on so what obstacles do you expect? How will you overcome those obstacles? How committed are you to doing this? So one thing some coaches really like is sort of getting some sort of numerical value and helping people see how they can move closer to getting to 10 as it relates to being committed. And so 10 out of 10 is being most committed, what's your first step? And when will you take it right? What will you do and by when. So some coaches will then sometimes like to bring in the smart approach to thinking about goal setting, I will make sure that I link in the show notes, an episode to one of my goal setting podcast episodes, because I think that will be also helpful if that's something that you're looking to get better at, as you leverage coaching tools and techniques, the way forward can really only be helpful if you're giving people an opportunity to really reflect on what are they going to do different what that might look like. And by when that can be very helpful for some people as a relates to coming and having some level of accountability. So that's the growth framework that can be incredibly helpful when it's used appropriately. And you can use different elements of this based on who you're having a conversation with, and what's really happening. And I just wanted to make sure that I shared this, because I think that it can be incredibly helpful and powerful to keep leaders curious, and to keep them from making assumptions. And so with this last bit of this episode, what I wanted to do was just reflect a bit on some of the things that really held me back, when I think about my coaching journey, when I think about leveraging coaching tools and techniques. And most importantly, when I think about being curious and really, truly being able to engage with my team. So these are some things that might hold you back. These are some things that might resonate with you. These are all things that I know I had some issues with. And I just want to once again refer back to the episode on self management and self regulation for ideas on how to work through them. Because for me, a lot of what helps me be effective at asking powerful questions and being able to engage with curiosity came down to managing my need to speak or not being able to deal with pauses, which is actually one of the things that I've put on this list. So number one, I can have opinions, I can talk for days, I can share all sorts of things. But that can also really hold me back from being an engaging leader from being a leader that can actually leverage coaching tools and techniques. So one of the things that really can hold you back from leveraging the growth framework effectively is jumping to conclusions and making assumptions. And even if you don't share them, just having them in your head as opposed to listening actively can really keep you from being able to engage effectively with a stakeholder or team member. Another thing that can keep you from engaging effectively or leveraging coaching tools and techniques is asking closed questions. So closed questions are questions that can typically just have a yes or no answer. And that's the reason why I wanted to go through the growth framework to give you an idea of the types of questions that you can actually ask to create possibility to open people up to get them motivated and engaged and energised. Another thing that can get in the way of effectively coaching and engaging others is storytelling or mentoring. So there are times for storytelling and mentoring. And there are times where you just need to be actively listening and supporting your stakeholder or supporting your team member with their own thought process. So they're able to take action. So knowing when to storytel when to mentor and maybe even some times asking if that's something that would be helpful can go a really long way to build a better relationship and engage more effectively. Another thing that tends to happen, especially if this is not something that you're used to, or you're a bit imbalanced or not feeling as great is asking multiple questions as once. So this is something that I still do, even though I've been coaching full time, for the most part for the last five years. But just take note, if that's something that you do, and just reflect on how you can make sure and you can pause to ask one question at a time. The last thing that I put on here, and this is actually what I started with, or alluded to, in the beginning, is being afraid of pauses. I used to be so afraid of pauses, I speak very quickly, if you listen to my podcast episodes, you know that. And so I've really had to learn to pause. And one of the ways I've learned to pause is actually by taking a sip of water, or making a movement or counting in my head. So there's many different things that you can do to give yourself that space, that grace to allow that person that you're engaging with, to truly be able to share right to communicate without you feeling the need to jump in. And so I just shared some ideas on how I do that. And once again, in that episode about self management and self regulation, there's some additional thoughts in there, the long and short of it, if there's anything that you take away from this episode is that to be a more engaging leader, especially if you want to leverage coaching tools and techniques, you need to practice, practice. And I'll say this one more time practice, that's really what it comes down to being open and willing to step outside your comfort zone and maybe try something a little bit different. Try using these powerful questions. If the growth framework is something that resonates, try to use it in that order. If you feel like it's just about using the questions and asking more how and what questions as opposed to why questions, I'd love to hear your feedback on how your employees, your teammates, or your stakeholders respond differently. When you say how or why versus using, I'm sorry, when you use how or what versus that why. And because I'm a coach, I just want to leave you with some reflection questions. The first I have here is what types of questions do you tend to ask? And I'm going to use that dreaded question, but I'm gonna then say but why? All right, do you tend to use more? Why questions? Do you tend to have more information questions? Or do you tend to ask more of that what and how? That's the first question I'd love for you to reflect on. The second is how can you better prepare to support others through asking questions? What do you need? Does it need to be a different environment? Do you need to make sure that you've slept? Well, you've eaten well, I know I'm a better coach and more engaging human being when I make sure I take care of myself first. But what can you do to make sure you set yourself up for for success, and that the person that you're engaging with is ready and open to receive? And the last one I have on here is what are some situations where using coaching questions in the Grow framework might be helpful, as I already mentioned within this episode, coaching in general, and then coaching tools and techniques are not useful in all contexts and all situations, but you know what you're doing day to day. So I'd love for you to reflect on when you could potentially integrate the grow, model or integrate asking different questions so that you can ultimately get different results. As always, thank you so much for taking the time to listen. I hope that you have an amazing day and that you stay safe, and stay safe. Thank you so much for listening to this week's episode, please share this episode with someone who can benefit from its contents. If you found this episode helpful, I want to ask you to leave a review. This makes it easier for other people to find my podcast and also allows me to bring on even bigger guests, and even more fascinating stories. Thank you so much for listening again. Stay safe and stay sane


There are no comments yet. Be the first one to leave a comment!

Leave a comment


 Untitled design (7)  Untitled design (8)  Untitled design (1)



               CASE STUDIES

               PEOPLE ROUNDTABLE


Leaders aren't born; they're made.

This 5-minute assessment will help you understand what leadership stage you're currently in so you can determine your next steps.


© Copyright 2023, Akua Nyame-Mensah | Terms & Conditions  | Website by Rachelle Deem