PIOSEE for team coaching

I like watching air crash investigations, for me, they are sad to watch as people have died or suffered injuries. However, at the same time, it is fascinating to see how the investigators’ team tries to connect several dots and find the reasons that they can make improvements in the aviation industry to ensure passengers’ safety.

I learned that when the pilots are reacting to a crises situation they use different procedures. Pilots are renowned for following procedures or checklists, they follow them to reduce errors to ensure the safety of passengers on board. One example is the Sully movie where pilots diagonized the problems and took the decision accordingly. It was great to see how those decisions are made having a number of years of experience!

I have been doing team coaching for a while and felt that the PIOSEE acronym resonates with the work I do. Of course, it can’t be a direct parallel and in a different context however there are some learnings to take away!

Let me explain the acronym and link it to team coaching …

P – Problem

white and black jigsaw puzzle

The first step, what is/are the problem(s) at hand to be resolved?

This question can also be used for alignment in the team as well. Often team members have different

perspectives, and listening to different views is very important to avoid biases. It is equally beneficial for the group to come to developing an understanding of a problem statement they want to resolve in a collaborative manner.

Powerful exploratory questions to ask as a team coach;

  • What is the problem/issues/challenge?
  • What is here that you want to explore?
  • What part of the situation have you not yet explored?
  • What other angles can you think of?
  • What caused it?
  • What led up to it?

I – Information

“this is where the light is”

Second, once the problem statement has been aligned and identified the next step is to start gathering information about it. Think of it as an information or data hunt to understand the problem with supported data. This step is to avoid the street light effect.

photo of bulb artwork

Each team member’s experiences are individual and have remarkably different views of the world. So it is important to pay more attention to what others are saying to build alignment and mutual understanding.

Powerful exploratory questions to ask as a team coach;

  • What is happening now in the team?
  • What other angles can you think of?
  • What have you tried doing anything thus far?
  • What you did and how did it go for you? share some examples
  • What has helped your progress so far?
  • What was the learnings?

O – Options

maze garden

Third, information gathering leads to generating options for the team to solve the issue/challenge.

The main question is to identify the options or opportunities for execution.

What is important here is to avoid the conventional mindset “It’s either my way or your way”. Problem-solving should lead to building upon each other’s ideas than converting them into a criticism conversation.

Powerful exploratory questions to ask as a team coach;

  • What do you see as the first option to solve the issue?
  • What might you do to take you close after that?
  • What other alternatives you can think of? Is there another way?
  • Who might you ask for help? who else?
  • What has worked for you in the past? What did you learn from it?
  • What do you think will happen if you try doing that?
  • What are the pros and cons of the option?
  • What possible path do you feel prepared to do?
  • What would you do if time/resources weren’t an issue?
  • What is just one more possibility?
  • What are you other options?

S – Select

five men riding row boat

Fourth, once the team has generated options, the next step is to evaluate the alternatives to make an informed decision and select a viable option or set of options done to resolve the issue.

“People support what they help to create” (Marvin Weisbord). This is to bring the inclusive behaviors in the team that they are part of the change journey they will follow. If team members don’t feel included they won’t own the change as well, and above all learn from the experiences.

Powerful exploratory questions to ask as a team coach;

  • What option are you going to execute?
  • How will you measure your progress using by selecting this option?
  • What potention barriers do you consider for the option?
  • How do you plan to overcome these barriers?
  • What else do you need? Whom you will ask for the help?
  • What are the steps you are going to take?
  • How are you going to know that you have solved the issue?

E – Execute

Nike #just do it text

Fifth, this is the time to execute the selected option(s). In the team coaching context put on the hat for experimentation.

Powerful exploratory questions to ask as a team coach;

  • What is the action plan
  • How will you measure your progress using by executing this option?
  • What support do you need to accomplish it?
  • How are you going to know that you have solved the issue?
  • When will you do it?

E- Evaluate

person writing on white paper

Sixth, the evaluation step is very important to observe the impact of the selected option(s) and make further improvements.

Powerful exploratory questions to ask as a team coach;

  • What is your assessment?
  • What is your conclusion?
  • How would you describe it?
  • How would you summarize the effort so far?
  • What is the opportunity here?
  • What is the challenge?
  • What could you do differently after current evaluation?
  • If you could do it over again, what would you do differently?


It is an experiential learning cycle and as a team coach, one needs to focus that the change journey has a pace and happening in a sustainable manner. A team coach can help the team to think beyond initial ideas, explore and navigate through brain storming ideas.


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