Effective leadership requires many talents, not least of which, is the ability to coach your team to do their best. This is likely to involve areas such as, conflict resolution, decision making, time management, cultural awareness and other ‘soft skills’.
Many of us find ourselves having to fulfil these leadership tasks without any formal training, meaning we have to develop our own abilities before we can become an effective coach to others. We often don’t have time to improve our own skills, tending to learn by our mistakes as we progress through our working life.
However, there are now many options available to leaders and managers in the form of training courses. These can often be completed online, making them more accessible for everyone, or alternatively, they can be completed in the workplace, meaning that numerous people can complete training at the same time.
Many of the training courses for coaching and mentoring use the GROW model strategy for helping you to learn how to structure your coaching session, so that both the coach, and the coachee, get the best from every coaching or mentoring session.
If you are in a leadership or managerial role, and are looking to develop your coaching skills, the following tips, will give you a basis for development and help you achieve better results from coaching sessions.
GROW Technique for Coaching and Mentoring
The GROW model is a framework basis for structuring coaching sessions, created in the 1980s by Sir John Whitmore, Graham Alexander and Alan Fine.
GROW stands for:
G – Goal
R – Reality
O – Options or Obstacles
W – Will or Way forward
The GROW model can be likened to planning a journey. First you must know your destination (goal), next you must establish where you are right now (your current reality), then you need to look at possible routes (options or obstacles), and finally, you must establish your way forward and commit to making the journey (will).
The original concept of the GROW model was designed for coaches who were unfamiliar with a client’s situation. However, in a business setting where leadership and management are coaching or mentoring staff, this situation does not always apply.
When coaching someone in a work based setting, it is often more useful for them to come to their own conclusions about their situation as opposed to being ‘told’ the right way to proceed.
However, managers have the expert industry knowledge so must help direct and guide team members to make decisions that are best for the company.
It takes time and patience to become an effective coach, but with training and practise this can be achieved.
The following section considers the GROW model in more depth and can be used as a basis for coaching sessions in a work based environment.
GOAL – Establish your Goal
The first step in the GROW model is establishing a goal.
This might be changing a particular type of behaviour or increasing career opportunities within the organization.
All goals must be ‘SMART’ goals, which are:
Asking useful questions that help focus on certain ‘SMART’ points can be helpful in directing attention to specific matters, such as:
How will you know if you achieve your goal? Or, Does this time-scale fit with your progression within the company?
REALITY – Establish Current Reality
Asking your team member to define their current reality is useful when trying to reach a goal as many people don’t acknowledge their starting point, and how far it may be from point A to B – or from reality to goal fulfilment.
Coaching tips for establishing current reality might include:
• What is happening now?
• What steps have you taken already?
• What other goals do you have?
OPTIONS – Explore the Options and Obstacles
Once a goal has been set, and current reality is established, it is useful to then consider the various options and obstacles which may have an impact on goal fulfilment.
Brainstorming sessions can be useful here, as a means of considering possible scenarios, then methods for overcoming these can be evaluated with the expert knowledge of leadership involvement.
Offer suggestions when necessary but try to let people come to their conclusions around potential problems first.
Guide team members with questions such as;
What if that didn’t work?
What else might change if you do that?
What advantages are there in this option?
What obstacles will need to be overcome before this can happen?
WILL – Establish the Will or Way Forward
By following the previous 3 points; setting and defining the goal, establishing current reality, and exploring various options or obstacles, you and your team member should now be able to see how the goal can be achieved.
Unfortunately, just because the path to the goal is clear, it doesn’t mean it will be easy to achieve specific targets.
This will take will, determination, motivation and resilience.
Establishing the will to achieve will involve encouragement from you, and guarantees from your team member to commit to specific actions.
Questions in this section might include:
How will you keep yourself motivated?
What help might you need to achieve this?
When do we need to review your progress?
Setting some definite time boundaries will assist with moving things forward and ensure accountability. It is also a good method for keeping tasks on track and monitoring outcomes.
Set schedules for reviews that are realistic, yet also inspiring, so that motivation remains constant.
Coaching and mentoring are elements of business that are essential to the success of firms and the employees that work for them.
It takes skill and practice to be an effective coach so training courses for leadership in these areas can greatly improve success rates across the board.