Coaching - The GROW Model
The GROW Model is deservedly one of the best known and widely used coaching models. It provides a simple yet powerful framework for navigating a route through a coaching session, as well as providing a means of finding your way when lost.
It is described in a number of coaching books, including John Whitmore's excellent book Coaching For Performance: Growing People, Performance and Purpose. GROW is an acronym for what are seen as the four key elements of a coaching session:
- current Reality,
- Options and
- Will -
The GROW Model is described here as it applies to an individual session but part of its strength is that it can equally well be applied to a part of a session, or to series of sessions. In each case, the principle is the same.
In its traditional application, the GROW model assumes that the coach is not an expert in the "client's" situation, and therefore must act as an objective facilitator, helping the client select the best options and not offering advice or direction. However, when a leader coaches his or her team members, other dynamics are in play: As a leader you will usually have some expert knowledge to offer. Also, it's your job to guide the selection of options which are best for your organization, and veto options that are harmful.
Now this may sound daunting. But if you arm yourself with some of proven techniques, find opportunities to practice and learn to trust your instincts, you can become a better coach, and so enhance your teamís performance.
How To Use The Tool:
Use the following steps to structure a coaching session:
The 4 Steps plus Useful coaching questions:
1. Establish the Goal:
First, with your team member, you must define and agree the goal or outcome to be achieved. You should help your team member define a goal that is specific, measurable and realistic.
- "How will you know that you have achieved that goal?"
- "How will you know the problem is solved?"
2. Examine Current Reality:
Next, ask your team member to describe their Current Reality. This is a very important step: Too often, people try to solve a problem without fully considering their starting point, and often they are missing some of the information they need to solve the problem effectively.
As the team member tells you about his or her Current Reality, the solution may start to emerge.
- "What is happening now?"
- "What, who, when, how often"
- "What is the affect or result of that?"
3. Explore the Options:
Once you and your team member have explored the Current Reality, itís time to explore what is possible Ė meaning, all the many possible options you have for solving the problem. Help your team member generate as many good options as possible, and discuss these.
By all means, offer your own suggestions. But let your team member offer his or hers first, and let him or her do most of the talking.
- "What else could you do?"
- "What if this or that constraint were removed?"
- "What are the benefits and downsides of each option?"
- "What factors will you use to weigh up the options?"
4. Establish the Will:
By examining Current Reality and exploring the Options, your team member will now have a good idea of how he or she can achieve their Goal. Thatís great Ė but in itself, this may not be enough! So your final step as coach is to get you team member to commit to specific action. In so doing, you will help the team member establish his or her will and motivation.
- "So what will you do now Ö and when?"
- "What could stop you moving forward?"
- "And how will you overcome it?"
- "Will this address your goal?"
- "How likely is this option to succeed?"
- "What else will you do?"
The GROW process has been presented sequentially here. In practice, it is a much less linear process which may start anywhere and revisit each of the stages several times.