Who is an OKR Coach?

Certified OKR Coach, ICF Coach, Product Coach and Transformation Consultant
The role of an OKR Coach, also known as an OKR Master, is becoming increasingly important within organizations. However, unlike a Scrum Master, there is no official, universally defined role for an OKR Coach. This is not surprising because the OKR framework itself doesn't have a one-size-fits-all definition. Based on my experience and
research, I have developed a competency model for an OKR Coach that can be applicable in various types of organizations. It's worth mentioning that the role of an OKR Coach doesn't have to be a full-time position; it can be integrated with other roles as long as the individual possesses the necessary competencies discussed in this article. An OKR Coach can also support multiple teams simultaneously, especially if they all belong to the same OKR area. It's important to distinguish the OKR Coach, who continuously supports teams in their OKR journey, from the OKR Program Manager, who focuses on setting up the OKR structure in the organization and coordinating different OKR initiatives but doesn't directly work with teams.
So, what are the key competencies that an OKR Coach should possess?
1. Coaching skills:
An OKR Coach should have standard coaching skills, such as asking powerful questions, actively listening, and prioritizing the team's perspective over their own. Their role is to foster awareness within the team and teach them how to challenge themselves effectively.

2. Facilitation skills:
An OKR Coach should guide the team through a structured series of discussions to align on their OKRs and make collective decisions on the next steps. They provide support throughout the entire OKR meeting cycle. In addition to official OKR cycle meeting support, an OKR Coach assists in cascading OKRs throughout the organization, tracking progress, and ensuring alignment.

3. OKR consultant:
Needless to say, an OKR Coach should have a deep understanding of the OKR methodology and goal-setting principles to provide effective consultation and support to the team. Practical knowledge gained from previous OKR implementations is also crucial, especially for most OKR Coaches in the organization. This role may also involve conducting OKR trainings to onboard new members and ensure everyone is on the same page. OKR Coaches educate clients on OKR principles, frameworks, and best practices.

4. Mentor:
An OKR Coach should understand the distinctions between coaching, mentoring, and consulting. They share their experiences, knowledge, and guidance to help individuals grow within the same or similar domains. OKR Coaches share insights and lessons learned from previous OKR implementations. Oftentimes, mentoring involves working individually with team members based on their specific needs.

5. Change Agent:
An OKR Coach possesses knowledge and practical application of concepts and tools for leading individuals and groups through changes. They navigate resistance, manage expectations, and facilitate the change management process during the adoption of OKRs. It's important to note that the success of the OKR framework relies on its adoption by all areas and stakeholders closely tied to it, as well as the alignment with the overall strategy. Therefore, the role of an OKR Coach extends beyond mentoring and consulting teams and should also involve influencing and engaging all relevant stakeholders
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