Mar 08, 2017 | 3
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The 3 Steps of Coaching Grit in Your Company


Coaching practices inspired by “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance”

The 3 Steps of Coaching Grit

Coaching practices inspired by “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance”

Upon traveling home to visit my family in China for the Chinese New Year, I read Angela Lee Duckworth’s book “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.” Duckworth’s experience of persevering after failure and why some inherently have grit while others don’t resonated with me. However, my biggest takeaway was the practical approach for coaching grit

There are many ways to foster grit within a company culture. But there seems to be three ways that I see someone able to coach another to increase their grit.


1) Reveal a calling

What is your passion? Unfortunately, many of us either haven’t discovered our true passion or discovered it later than we wanted.

Passion is something you need to explore early in your life, nurture in all actions and develop over time. It certainly is not something that you see and know immediately and takes a lot effort to develop into a calling. According to Duckworth, individuals can uncover their passion in four stages: trigger an interest, deliberate practice, find a purpose, and hope with a growth mindset.

There are a litany of ways to begin, or trigger an interest. TTI Success Insights’ 12 driving forces assessment can help identify a passion by uncovering the activities someone may enjoy, what they are driven to achieve, and what they are seeking to avoid.

You can start revealing people’ calling by asking these questions:

  • What activities are you interested in?
  • Have you ever done something where time flew by? What were you doing when you lost track of time?
  • What have you always loved to do, even since you were a child?

2) Connect the dots

Duckworth believes that everyone can work in an occupation that aligns with their purpose. I struggled with this concept, wondering how it could be possible to achieve a large life goal that serves a greater purpose if working on a team that doesn’t precisely align with one’s purpose.

The key of life, according to Duckworth, is all about connecting the dots.

I dove deep into Duckworth’s hierarchy goal model in the book. The concept is this: after identifying a large life goal, you then identify the strategic tiers and mid-level and low-level goals that can help you achieve the life goal. Take me, for example. I had a childhood dream of becoming a fashion designer and now have an interest in becoming an intercultural coach for Ex-Pats. The common thread for me is that I want to empower others and let them know there are better options in their lives. And I can achieve that each and every day.

You can help people who lack grit in their lives connect the dots. Here are a few key questions you can ask:

  • How can you connect your daily job to your core value?
  • What are you doing now is helping you achieve your dream?

3) Cultivate the behavior

Children imitating and emulating their parents. So parents try to stay on their best behavior. The same rules apply for leaders and employees in an organization.

Duckworth has a rule in her home that every family member must stick with one activity to practice grit. She practices tough love, offering support with discipline.

Coaches, managers and teachers have a lot in common. At the end, you’re bringing forth something. Like a parent, leaders need to show the way, offering support and constraints to help employees grow.

To help foster grit among others, you can ask the following questions:

  • How can we improve together?
  • What is the best way I can help you stay accountable?
  • What can I do for you?


Passion and perseverance are not easy. It is difficult to stay the course. But we can easily identify the need of a coach to help foster grit: to bring a person from point A to point B, we must show sincere interest, offer guidance, enable support systems and drive accountability.

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Kefei Wang