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WONDER: A New Coaching Model

For coaching individuals and teams

22 April 2016

Hello, fellow Agile enthusiasts and coaches!

Based on my experiences with various coaching models and with coaching multiple teams and individuals in large-scale Agile transformations, I have created a coaching model called WONDER. I have used this model with several individuals and teams and had satisfactory results. Below are a couple of scenarios in which I have used this model:
  • A team member whose goal was to improve his cross-functional skills.
  • A team that wanted to overcome the problem of having incomplete stories at every sprint.
I would be interested if you tried this model and provided your feedback so that we can collectively improve on it. Thank you in advance.

Below is the WONDER coaching model diagram:


What is WONDER?

WONDER is a coaching technique that can be used for an individual or a team to solve a problem or to help them to achieve a particular goal. The steps involved will help the teams understand their goal in more detail and identify the positive driving forces (Opportunities) and blockers (Negative forces) and accordingly help derive the actions necessary to meet the goal. The team works on these actions for a stipulated time and then evaluates the results of those actions. At that point, they check to what extent the goal has been achieved and how much they have had to work to reach the goal. They then revise their plan of action to apply any corrections based on their progress so far.

At every stage in the WONDER coaching technique, insightful questions play a vital role in helping the coached individuals clearly understand that particular stage. These questions are open-ended and ignite thoughtful responses.

Below are the stages of the WONDER coaching technique:
  1. Will: State the goal or the problem to solve for an individual or a team.
  2. Opportunities: Identify the positive driving forces that help to achieve the goal.
  3. Negatives: Identify the blockers that push back achievement of the goal.
  4. Derive actions: Identify clear and concise actions required to reach the goal, based on the opportunities and blockers.
  5. Evaluate: Review the progress made after the actions have been implemented and check the extent to which the goal has been reached.
  6. Revise: The team (or individual) identifies any changes or improvements to the actions, based on the results of the preceding Evaluate step.

Sample questions

You can ask the following questions in each of the stages. Remember, these are just sample questions; you can design your own questions by using the following questions as a guideline.


  • What exactly is your goal or problem to solve?
  • What does it mean to you?
  • What is the rate of the impact of the problem, or the priority of the goal, from a scale of 1 to 10?
  • What priority is placed on solving this problem or achieving this goal?
  • How will this goal help you and others around you?
  • How do you feel after achieving this goal?
  • Was your performance impacted because of this goal?
  • What did you influence to achieve this goal?
  • How will this goal help your future?
  • What happens if you achieve the goal?
  • What happens if you don’t achieve the goal?


  • What are the positive forces that can help you reach your goal?
  • Who can support you in achieving this goal?
  • What environmental factors can you leverage to achieve the goal?
  • What do you feel when you find an opportunity for this goal?
  • What is the ranking that you give to each of these opportunities?
  • What is in your control or what can you influence to leverage these opportunities?
  • Who else can control these opportunities?


  • What are the blockers that negatively push back achievement of your goal?
  • Who around you might push you to solve this problem?
  • What environmental factors might negatively impact your goal?
  • What do you feel when you see these blockers occur?
  • What ranking do you give to each of these blockers?
  • What can you control to avoid these blockers?
  • What can you influence to avoid these blockers?
  • Who else can control these blockers?
  • What does it take for you to address these blockers?
  • How do you feel when each blocker is addressed or brought to closure?

Derive actions

  • What will spur you on to achieve the goal?
  • What are the priorities for implementing your actions?
  • What is the time line required to implement these actions?
  • How do you feel when these actions work?
  • How do you feel when these actions do not work?
  • What might block you from implementing these actions?
  • Who do you think is accountable for acting on these actions?
  • What support do you need to implement these actions?
  • Do you have the commitment to implement these actions?


  • When do you want to evaluate the results of the above actions?
  • Who is accountable for evaluating the actions?
  • Do you need any support from my team for the evaluation?
  • How do you feel when your evaluation gives you positive results?
  • How do you feel when your evaluation does not give you positive results?


  • What did you find did not work from the actions you selected earlier?
  • What data points did you collect?
  • What changes would you like to make to those actions?
  • Who do you think is accountable for the actions that are not working?
  • Who is responsible for identifying a new set of actions?
  • How do you feel when you realize the actions did not work?
  • How confident are you of the new set of actions?
  • Can you prioritize your new set of actions?
I hope that this model will help you with your coaching, and I look forward to reading your valuable comments. Happy coaching!

Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.

Article Rating

Current rating: 4.4 (8 ratings)


Rohit Ratan Mani, CSP,CSM, 4/26/2016 3:17:45 AM
Good article Vijay.

We have been using similar questionnaire but under a different name. Would surely like to try out this structure.
Vijay Bandaru, CTC,CSP,CSM,CSPO, 4/26/2016 7:56:46 PM
Thank you Rohit, appreciate if you could provide your feedback when you use it. What I observed from various coaching techniques is, the questions are very much similar. They need to ignite the thought process in the coachee and let them find the solution.
Sureshchandra Sharma, CSP,CSM,CSPO, 5/3/2016 8:02:11 AM
Nice thoughts Vijay!!
Vijay Bandaru, CTC,CSP,CSM,CSPO, 5/4/2016 4:40:40 AM
Thank you Sureshchandra. Please try to use this model and provide your inputs if possible
Harshal Joglekar, CSP,CSM, 6/16/2017 3:43:03 AM
These questions are good. I tried it with one of my team and it really created wonder. The team was facing an issue of say-do ratio lesser than 70%. So we used this set of questions and we are not delivering at 95% say-do ratio.
Alapan Sur, CSP,CSPO, 8/20/2017 7:14:42 AM
Harshal, good to hear that it works. However I hope the word "not" is a typo and you wanted to mention "now" am I right?

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