Coaching is one of the greatest challenges facing agile transformations that most organizations are going through. Although it can be adapted to life and organizational settings within individual or team frameworks, a transformation in the leadership style is required. Whereas Coaching is compatible with almost all leadership models, especially with the situational one, it demands first to establish rapport and then to lead through “questioning” instead of just “telling”. Therefore, a closer relationship between leaders and teams as well as the time required by Coaching process are essential requirements. In EMEA region, the GROW model is very popular since it is quite simple, and it can be adapted to almost any organizational situation. In contrast in Americas one, the ICF model based on the 11 competencies requires not only more Coaching skills but also experience on the coach’s side to achieve the same effectiveness and adaptability of the GROW model. Furthermore, the Ontological model is the most effective to achieve deep transformations although it requires coaches who have not only been through the experience of a personal transformation but who also are able to help organization and other people to transform themselves. However, settings and models are different, the art of “question” is at the heart of each of them and Coaching itself.

Outcomes and the “gap”: “What?”

To begin with, establish and sustain rapport is key for the effectiveness of Coaching. In fact, the whole process is based on asking “Why”, but without neither making feel attacked nor uncomfortable the person or team receiving Coaching called “coachee”. The coach will ask “Why” to challenge the current state, define the purpose as well as to find out root causes with the same genuine curiosity with which a child asks “Why”, meaning without any intention of causing harm. Moreover, true rapport is established when coach can freely ask “Why” without causing a negative reaction on the “coachee”, therefore trust must be not only built but also sustained. Furthermore, Coaching process starts by analysing outcomes, firstly to define the current state throughout a common understanding of the situation, and secondly to set goals to build the future state based on a share vision about both purpose’s meaning and importance. During the process at an outcomes level, coach will ask “What” to define both current and future states and most important to establish the “gap” at an outcome level.

Process and the “way”: “How”?

Another aspect to consider is moving forward from the outcomes to the process, which will allow not only to establish the gap at a process level but also to deep dive in the root causes. First and foremost, coach will ask “How” to translate both current and future states’ outcomes into a “way” of working in an organizational setting or of living within a life Coaching setting. Moreover, rapport must be not only sustained but also increased by the coach as the process goes deeper into the root causes. Furthermore, at this level by asking “Why” the root causes of the “gap” should be revealed by going deeper on the initial findings. What is more, a direct questioning style combine with short questions will make more effective the Coaching process, while the assertiveness of the questions will rely on coach’s active listening instead of having “pre-defined” questions. Therefore, it is always of fundamental importance for the coach to use but not to abuse of models by keeping in mind that although the Coaching conversation is not a “Coffee Talk” it is a conversation after all and hence must be opened and spontaneous as well as based on what is happing at the present.

Accountability and the “observer”: Who?

Finally, Coaching process will arrive at its climate when reaching the accountability level defined within the Ontological model as “the observer”. At this level, the link between the “gap” and a “way” of working or living according to the setting is already defined but accountability remains to be established, which is perhaps the most sensitive step during the Coaching process, and therefore when the deepest “insights” might arise within the “coachee”. Moreover, there will be areas of decision as well as restriction whether in the organizational context and personal life, that will be exposed by asking “Who” is responsible for instance of taking actions to close the “gap” to reach out the goal by changing the “way” of performing. Furthermore, the coachee will be empowered to act not only by making the most from actions but also by transforming organizational or personal reality as well as himself. The ultimate Coaching purpose is not only to transform the way of working or living but also organizations and people as well. I would like to conclude with the famous serenity prayer by the theologian-philosopher Reinhold Niebuhr: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” I believe it not only summarizes Coaching purpose but also the process as well.

Thanks for Reading.

Marcelo Sauro is an internationally experienced performance and improvement senior manager. He holds an Executive MBA and Master of Science degrees and has helped people and organizations to transform themselves. Not only he led E2E transformations in Global Business Services, R&D, Supply Chain and Finance organizations at all levels within the LATAM and EMEA Regions, but he is also experienced in several industries including Life Science, Healthcare, Insurance, Fintech, Technology, Telecoms, FMCG, Chemicals, Automotive, Energy and Mining. Since 2015, he has been researching and developing content in agile and resilience through Value Ways, while working under contract for customers such as MetLife, Novartis, Vertiv (Emerson NP) and Experian among others. Previously, he worked for more than 7 years as Master Black Belt for a LATAM-based consulting group, which had ASQ, Qualtec and Oriel as business partners. Prior to that, he worked for more than 10 years at BASF and GSK in positions of growing responsibility in the area of Operational Excellence. Marcelo is currently working at Ferring's “International PharmaScience Center” (IPC) for the Global R&D organization in Copenhagen. To find out more please visit

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