Coaching is a fundamental part of the improvement process in any business.
World class companies embed coaching at all levels, creating a coaching culture throughout the organisation. So what is coaching in a business context, and how do we coach someone? At its simplest level coaching is a structured conversation, where the coach helps the coachee (the person being coached) to discover the path to a goal. The goal in this case can be anything achievable, for example solving a technical problem, attaining a new skill, finding a different way to communicate, or learning how to prioritise.
The GROW Model
O – Options
W – Way Forward
The model helps the coach structure their questions to ensure that the coachee is crystal clear about what they want to achieve and has written down specific actions to get them there.
In the Goal phase, the coach asks questions to ensure that the coachee has a goal that is specific, measurable, achievable, and time-bound. The coachee needs to to write down their goal in a form that is personal (something they and not someone else will do), in the present tense (written as though they’re doing it now not something they will do in the future), and positive (write want they do want rather than what they don’t want).
In the Reality phase the coach asks where the coachee is now in relation to their goal, what have they tried already? What has worked? What hasn’t worked? What obstacles do they face? We’re establishing the gap between where the coachee is now and where they want to be.
In the Options phase the coach asks the coachee to generate as many solutions to bridge the gap as possible. Rather like brainstorming, the ideas don’t need to be realistic at this stage, we just need as many ideas as possible.
In the Way Forward phase the coach asks which of the potential solutions the coachee wants to select, becoming specific about exactly what they will do and when they will do it.
In practice as a coach
You will not necessarily work through the GROW phases sequentially. Often we start with discussing the reality of a situation before formulating a goal, and as the coachee moves through the model the goal is refined or on occasion is changed completely. The beauty of the GROW model is that the structure encourages clarity and supports a decisive outcome with a plan for action.
As you read through the GROW model you may feel it lends itself to 1-2-1 meetings with your staff and you’d be right, but actually the model can be used in both informal and formal settings.
The next time someone tells you they’ve got a problem; don’t give them your answer, ask them to tell you more about the problem, and then ask them… So what is it that you specifically want to achieve?
Adam Jones, CDI London Associate Coach