The #1 Tool Leadership Coaches Use: GROW

paul sohn_coaching

Starting this year I have the privilege of being mentor-coached by Ryan Bailey on how to be an effective Christian leadership coach. Ryan has 20+ of executive coaching experience with Fortune 1000 leaders. As I’ve began this coaching journey, one word perfectly illustrates the heart of coaching: empowerment. I am very excited to see how God will use this opportunity to live more intentionally and fulfill my mission as an “Organizational Chiropractor,” Purpose Weaver, and Kingdom-minded Catalyst.

Whether or not you’re in a leadership position, that doesn’t matter. As Maxwell says, “leadership is influence, nothing more nothing less.” If you seek to seek greater influence, this tool will catapult you to have more clout.

Let me share this coaching tool best coaches have used widely in their practices. It is called the GROW model. This tool empowers the coach to structure a coaching conversation and deliver a meaningful result.

Tip 1: Know Your Own Role
In its traditional application, the GROW Model assumes that the coach is not an expert in the “client’s” situation. This means that the coach must act as a facilitator, helping the client select the best options, and not offering advice or direction.

G = represents your / your client’s goals.

Using the GROW Model, the coach will begin the discussion by asking the client to define the topic in order to understand what specifically the client wants to talk about, the scale of the challenges they face, the importance and emotional significance of the topic to the client and the client’s long-term vision or goal. Most coaches will encourage clients to set goals which are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic and Time-framed) the idea being that this will assist the client in focusing their thoughts and will also enable them to measure whether they achieve what they are aiming for in the long-term.

When doing this, it’s useful to ask questions like:

  • Does this goal fit with her overall career objectives? And does it fit with the team’s objectives?
  • What must you accomplish in the next 12 months?
  • What would you like to focus on today?
  • What’s important you at the moment?
  • What are you working on at the moment?
  • What challenges are you struggling with at the moment?
  • How can you word that goal more specifically?
  • What’s your ideal future?
  • What is the legacy that you want to leave?
  • What new skill do you want to learn or develop?

Tip 2: Practice by Coaching Yourself
A great way to practice using the model is to address your own challenges and issues. When you are ‘stuck’ with something, you can use the technique to coach yourself. By practicing on your own challenges and issues, you will learn how to ask the most helpful questions. Write down some stock questions as prompts for future coaching sessions.

R = represents your / your client’s reality.

In the ‘Reality’ stage of the GROW Model the coach will assist the client in assessing objectively where they currently are in relation to their goal and how they feel about their current situation. This process of discovery is designed to allow the help the client clarify their goals better and as they begin to understand them more deeply what is driving them and what their sources of dissatisfaction are. In summary both coach and client encourage self-assessment and offer explicit examples to demonstrate their points and paint the most accurate picture of the topic as possible.

When doing this, it’s useful to ask questions like:

  • What’s working well for you at the moment?
  •   What isn’t working well at the moment?
  • What have you done so far to improve things?
  • How does this goal impact your spouse/partner?
  • What’s the excuse that you have always used for not achieving your goals?
  • What aspects of your life will be impacted by reaching the above goal?
  • What is the biggest obstacle that you are facing?
  • What are you afraid of?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What are you willing to endure to see your goal become a reality?

Tip 3: Ask Great Questions. and Listen Well
The two most important skills for a coach are the ability to ask good questions, and effective listening.  Don’t ask closed questions: “Did that cause a problem?” Do ask open ones: “What affect did that have?” Be prepared with a list of questions to for each stage of the G-R-O-W process. Listen well and let your “client” do most of the talking. Remember that silence is valuable thinking time: You don’t always have to fill silence with the next question.

O = represents your / your client’s options.

In the ‘Options’ stage of the GROW Model the idea is not to find a solution immediately, but to generate as many alternative courses of action as possible. Once a number of options have been identified the next stage will be to decide which one the client wants to put into action to help move them towards their goals. In this final ‘Will’ stage of the GROW Model the coach/client relationship is moving from discussion to conclusion and achievement.

When doing this, it’s useful to ask questions like:

  • What do you think you should do first?
  • What would be the most helpful thing that you could do now?
  • If money wasn’t a restriction for you, what would you do?
  • What would you do if you weren’t answerable to anyone?
  • What would (enter a name of relevant expert) do in this situation?
  • What do you sense God is telling you to do?
  • If you were guaranteed to succeed, what would you do?
  • What can  you do better than anyone else in your organization?
  • What books should you be reading to help you achieve your goals?
  • If you saw someone else in your situation, what would you suggest they do?
  • If you had 50% more confidence, what would you be doing that would be different?

W = represents your / your client’s will or way forward.

In the final step, establishing the will, you ensure that you’re committed to making the journey, and are prepared for the obstacles that you could meet on the way.

When doing this, it’s useful to ask questions like:

  • What actions will you / your client take to move forward?
  • What are you going to do in the next 24 hours?
  • How committed are you in reaching this goal?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how motivated are you to achieving this goal?
  • What will it take to turn that 6 into a 9?
  • Who do you need to speak to about this goal?
  • How are you going to celebrate reaching your goal?

Question: What questions will you use in coaching others to success?