Management and Leadership Series Posted by Nicola Maxwell

If you’ve read the previous articles in this series on coaching you’ll be clear about what it means to coach.  You’ll know it’s about drawing out solutions and ideas from people.  It’s less about telling them what to do and more about listening and asking good questions.

You’ll also be aware that coaching is an integral part of managing people because it’s vital in helping develop your staff, empowering them and building their confidence.

In the last article, we examined what stops mangers from coaching and extended an invitation to you to look for opportunities when you could coach people. This might have been in meetings where people asked you for advice, in 1-2-1s with your team members when they told you they weren’t sure how to resolve a particular problem or when someone called you to ask a question they had enquired about previously.

If you’re ready to start coaching, let us introduce you to the edoMidas 5 ’A’ coaching model. Our model gives you a framework to build your questions around some key headings:


This is where we clearly define the goal or the issue that the person is working with. It’s important to ensure the questions you ask give you an insight into the real issue so it’s worth spending time on this stage to ensure you get to the heart of the issue. For example, if someone is asking you for advice on stakeholder management, you could ask the following questions:

  • What is the issue you’re facing?
  • What in particular is causing you a problem?
  • How will you know when you’ve resolved this issue?


This stage is about finding out how able and equipped the person is to resolve the issue. We can begin to ask questions such as:

  • How realistic is your objective?
  • What parts of this are within your control?
  • What could help you achieve/resolve this?
  • What have you tried already?
  • What skills and resources are required to achieve this goal?


When we’re coaching others, it’s useful to get a sense of how committed or motivated an individual is towards achieving their goal or resolving the problem. At this point, we’re interested in asking questions such as:

  • How motivated/committed do you feel about this?
  • What will happen if we don’t address this?
  • What is the implication of that?
  • What might influence your levels of motivation or commitment?
  • What would make this goal much more compelling?


We also need to encourage the person to think how they might need to adapt their plan of action:

  • What is getting in the way of you achieving this?
  • How might you overcome these obstacles?
  • What else will you need to consider?


This is the stage that addresses their options and how they’ll go about doing it:

  • What are some possible options?
  • What could you do as a first step?
  • When will you do that?

Of course, for those more instant coaching conversations that are shorter and which deal with very specific issues, you can simply ask a question from each stage of the framework:

  • What is the issue? (Aim)
  • What have you tried already? (Ability)
  • Why is this important? (Attitude)
  • What is getting in the way? (Adaptability)
  • What could you do as a first step? (Approach)

The 5A coaching model is a useful framework to use whether you’re doing some in-depth coaching or whether you’re coaching on something short and quick.

Try it out and you should notice that your coaching interactions become more focused and rewarding for all involved.

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