SAGE Coaching Model: Doing More with Less – Part II

Check out my Audio Interview on the topic of “Doing More with Less” – Part II


SAGE Coaching Model: Doing More with LessSituation Analysis

The first step is Situation Analysis, and that really is the focus on what the current situation is, to clarify what’s going on and identify what the challenges are, where is the individual struggling. This may differ from what current leaders do. Leaders are really good problem solvers, and so we want to solve a problem. So instead of asking all the great questions and trying to uncover what’s going on, we’re already on solution mode. “Oh, I hear what you’re saying. Well, I’ve had that same problem or here’s what you should do.”

What we’re really trying to do here, is to take a step away and not solve the problem, but really understand, not only what’s going on but why it’s going on. As an example, let’s say an individual isn’t delegating, but do we know why they’re not delegating? Is it because they’re fearful to lose control? Or they don’t trust their employees, or maybe they need more training. What we want to do in situation analysis, is uncover not only what’s going on, but why is it going on. Why is this individual struggling or even coming to you in the first place?

Alternatives and Options

The next step is the A, which is Alternatives and Options, and this is quite simply exploring different options. There’s typically not one single right answer that will solve one problem. There’s different answers, and different approaches. What we want to do is explore what those options are and get those on the table.

You may be thinking, “So things like that would be really time-consuming. I mean, once you find the answer, wouldn’t you just stop the brainstorming and get started?” Remember, we’re not trying to solve the problem. And I know that sounds counter-intuitive because why else are we having this discussion, but what we’re really trying to do is empower our employees. We’re trying to train them and get them feeling more comfortable taking risks, making decisions on their own.

We’re brainstorming and we’re coming up with different options and then we’re weighing the pros and cons. And if we were just stop when we had the right answer, then we may never get to, “well, why won’t we do this?” It gives leaders the ability to help train their people and I will tell you that as a leader, if you continue doing this, my clients tell me this all the time, their employees come in into their office and they’ll say, I know what you’re going to ask me. You’re going to ask me what options have I thought of and what are the pros and cons. You’re really training them to think ahead like that.

Goal Setting

Step number three is goal settings. We all know it’s important to have goals. Right? We have goals everyday of our lives. “I want to lose five pounds, or I want to get promoted”, or whatever it is. But we don’t always tie it to the action at hand, and so it’s really important because we’ve explored options to be real clear. What are we trying to achieve here? Let’s just use delegation as an example. If the goal is to delegate more, what is the goal? I mean, what is truly the goal? If we say, “I want to delegate more”, how do we know when we’re successful? The goal needs to be something a bit more specific. I mentioned this in our first, part one, but the goals need to be SMART.

They need to be specific, and measurable, and attainable, time-bound so we need to make sure that we’ve identified all of these things. The other thing that I find is sometimes there may be a short-term and a long-term goal. So a short-term might be, “I’ve got a project, how am I going to delegate for this particular project?” Now long-term, “I need to improve on my delegating because that’s something that’s going to make me a better leader.” So what do I want to do longer-term? Sometimes we may have more than one goal. The other thing to keep in mind is that it needs to be really specific and actionable. Again, let’s get back to SMART, “I want to do more but what specifically do I want to do?” How will we measure it, how will we know when I’ve achieved it and then what’s the time frame? And that’s SMART!

Again, SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound.

Execution and Accountability

I know that this step probably doesn’t need a lot of explaining, but what are the measurements, what’s our timing, how are we going to take action, what does the plan look like and how are we going to remain on course and accountable?

If you’re wondering what some of the common mistakes people would make in this step, I would say the biggest mistake is that accountability isn’t real clear. So, maybe we’ve had a discussion, and there’s something that someone else needs to do, or you as the leader needs to do – so accountability isn’t real clear. This goes back to “ownership”. And that’s why the coaching model stage is so important, because it puts ownership back on to the employee. When you have the discussion, and you ask certain questions, like “How likely are you to achieve this? How do you want to be held accountable? How will we measure success?”

All of these questions are going to ensure that the individual stays on track. And I am a big believer that if the individual isn’t committed to doing this, then it’s probably not going to get done. Even though they may know that they need to delegate in our example, they may not be committed to make the change, and this is where you can identify that. And then you set milestones.

Our favorite coaching question is: “What will you do? When will you do it and How will I know?” So, what are you going to do? I’m going to delegate five times. When will you do it? I’m going to start tomorrow with Sarah. And how will I know? I would like to circle back with you and meet regularly so that we could talk about every Friday at 2:00.

I hope learning and implementing the four steps of the Sage Coaching Model will help empower your employees, and make you a more effective leader.

Sage Alliance, a Leadership Performance Company, provides coaching, teambuilding and assessments, workshops and speaking on topics including; leadership development, empowering teams, communications, lasting impressions, personal branding and building a coaching culture for executives and high-potentials – for both team and individual leaders.

Contact us today to discover how your organization can get the most through improved productivity, efficiency and direct impact to your bottom line, while leaders gain powerful insight, crystallize opportunities for growth and fine tune their strengths, enabling them to make the greatest impact. You can contact Shelley Hammell directly at

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