Great Bosses Don’t Tell People What to Do – They Coach!

unprofitableThere’s a simple process for doing great coaching. It’s called the GROW model. GROW is an acronym standing for Goal – Current Reality – Options – Wrap Up. The model is a simple yet powerful framework for structuring a coaching or mentoring session.

A useful metaphor for the GROW model is the plan you might make for an important journey. First, you start with a map: With this, you help your team member decide where they are going (their Goal) and establish where they currently are (their Current Reality). Then you explore various ways (the Options) of making the journey. In the final step (the Wrap Up) you ensure your team member is committed to making the journey and is prepared for the conditions and obstacles they may meet on their way.

Use the following steps to structure a coaching session:

  1. Establish the Goal:

First 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.

In doing this, it is useful to ask questions like “What would you like to achieve?” Follow this up with further questions to clarify the desired outcome.

  1. Examine Current Reality:

Next, ask your team member to describe the situation. 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 situation, the solution may start to emerge.

Useful non-directive questions include:

  • “What is happening now?”
  • “What, who, when, how often?”
  • “What is the effect or result of that?”
  1. Explore the Options (or Consider the Obstacles):

Once you and your team member have explored the Current Reality, it’s time to explore what is possible – 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.

Typical questions used to establish the options are:

  • “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?”
  1. Wrap Up (or Establish the Will):

By examining the Current Reality and exploring the Options, your team member will now have a good idea of how he or she can achieve their Goal. That’s great – 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.

Useful questions:

  • “So what will you do now, 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?”

Don’t be a telling boss – at least not all the time! When you want your team member to feel more empowered and to learn something more deeply, let them GROW! You’ll find it so much easier getting others to want to work for you.

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