You may be a new manager, someone people come to for advice, or a seasoned manager looking for some new tips to help employees. Coaching is a great skill to have on your toolbelt, but how do you do it and which model should you use?
There are many coaching methods out there – GROW, TGROW, OSKAR, CLEAR to name a few. I am partial to GROW, created in the late 80s by Graham Alexander, Alan Fine, and Sir John Whitmore and influenced by Timothy Gallwey. It is probably the model most recognized; it’s simple to understand, easy to use and it works!
Coaching is a skill and with most skills there is a method to the madness. It will take some practice, but with GROW you can literally do a quick reading or watch a video and start coaching. You can use GROW to coach others as well as yourself – just follow the model. And if you really want to do a deep dive, get Coaching for Performance.
So what is the GROW coaching model?
There are 4 parts to the model: goals, reality, options, and choosing what to do.
The G stands for Goal and is all about the coachee setting a goal. The coachee owns the goal, not the coach. What does the coachee want to achieve? The coach helps the coachee to make sure they have a SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timebound) goal.
The R stands for Reality or Current Reality – what is happening now? Peel the onion back and really understand what is going on. This is truly the heart of the matter and typically takes the most amount of time in the coaching session. Often, the coachee realizes what has gotten in their way and how to get on track.
The O stands for Options. What can the coachee DO to achieve their goal? What options do they have? It is important to take off any blinders in this part of coaching – the sky’s the limit. It is a real brainstorming session. Let the coachee think and talk. Make a list of all of the options. As a the coach, don’t offer any ideas until the coachee has had some time to think and come up with a list of options. Only when the coachee has finished brainstorming AND agreed to hearing other suggestions should you provide your suggestions. On the rare occasion a coachee may not have any idea what to do, but that is rare.
What Will You Do?
The W stands for What Will You Do? Based on the options provided, what is the most powerful step the coachee can take to move towards the goal? Sometimes a coachee will want to action a few options which is great, but help the coachee prioritize the options. Once the options have been prioritized, ask the coachee when they will take action on the chosen option. The time has to be specific. Then ask how committed the coachee is to taking the action on a scale of 1-10, 10 being it is going to be done! Do not let the coachee walk away with any actions under a 10. If they can’t commit to a 10, see how the action can be changed so that the coachee can commit to taking action with a commitment of 10.
I have found coaching to be an incredibly rewarding activity for both the coach and coachee. Create a cheatsheet and don’t hesitate to use it.