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Becoming a Coach-like Leader: Using GROW with your team

To inspire performance from your team members, you need to develop and improve your coaching skills. This four-step GROW model will help you in your coaching conversations.

I recently came across this analogy to what coaching is – “You might think of coaching like going on a road trip with a supportive passenger riding along with you. You are in control of the car and where it’s going – the same way you’re in control of your life, your destiny, your decisions, your future. As you drive, your coach accompanies you, assisting you on your journey to reach your destination.” Incidentally the first use of the term "coach" in connection with an instructor or trainer originated around 1830 in Oxford University, this was a slang term for a tutor who "carried" a student through an exam. The word "coaching" identified a process used to transport people from where they are to where they want to be.

In this blog post, you will learn how to "lead like a coach" so that your team is empowered to respond to change more effectively. Developed by Sir John Whitmore the GROW model will help you clarify your goals and create action plans to reach success. In other words, it’ll help you GROW. The GROW model is a simple yet effective approach to coaching your team. Learn and practice how to structure coaching conversations using the model's four pillars: Goal, (Current) Reality, Options, and Will (or Way Forward).

To continue using the previous analogy you can use GROW to think about how you would plan a journey. You start by deciding where you are heading (the goal), and then establish where you currently are (your current reality). You next explore the various routes (the options) to your destination. In the final step, you establish the will or the commitment to making the journey, and if you are prepared for any obstacles you may meet along the way.

GROW is a simple and straightforward process that can be applied to goal-setting and problem-solving for managerial coaches. The GROW model is an effective tool for bringing attention to the present, here and now and to focus on effective problem-solving.

Here are the four steps to the process: