3 The Grow Model
Most effective coaches draw on a variety of frameworks to give structure to their coaching sessions.
A popular example is the GROW model (Whitmore, 2017). The coach may not always explain the model to the coachee, but you’ll explore it in more detail here to gain some insight into how coaches often focus their support during a session.
Each letter stands for a stage in the process:
G = Goal
R = Reality
O = Options
W = Way forward (or ‘will’)
When a coach uses the GROW model with you, there are often different levels to each stage. For example, when setting goals, they will start by exploring your main career goal, for example, to find a new job. They must then break that down into a goal for the session that will allow you to move forward.
In the reality part of the process, the coach helps you to really understand where you are right now, analysing what has happened to bring you to this point, how you are feeling about it etc. During this conversation, you might find that the main goal for the session changes.
In order to generate options, the coach wants you to do the work! You know best what your options are, and it is their job to help you articulate those options clearly, not to suggest options for you.
When it comes to determining the way forward, the coach will help you to narrow down your options and set a realistic timescale for each specific step you plan to take. Again, they won’t suggest actions for you as evidence shows that you are much more likely to take action if you own your action points. However, they will make sure that the actions are as specific as possible and suitably challenging. Action points that are too easy are unlikely to inspire and motivate.
Throughout the process, the coach will use a range of tools and techniques to encourage you to think about your situation and your goal – encouraging you to look from a different perspective, perhaps even tapping into your subconscious brain.
Activity 3 How can I GROW?
Watch this video of the GROW model in action.
Transcript: The GROW model in action!
The video showed someone who was struggling with his presentation skills. Think of something specific that you’d like to achieve in a work context and make it your goal for this activity. You may have come up with something appropriate when you identified your career goals in Week 5, Activity 1. Fill in each of the boxes below.
The Reality of my current situation
A Plan for the way forward
The key benefit of using a model such as GROW is that it provides structure. By thinking an issue through in stages, you can often identify and articulate the solution much more clearly.
The added advantage of working through this structure with a coach is that they will encourage you to think in different ways, view things from a different perspective etc., allowing you to imagine and articulate solutions that you might not have come up with on your own.
Now you have a better idea of how a coach might support you, you can start to look at identifying the right coach to offer you that support.