The coaching industry has grown like topsy. Coaches now come in 57 varieties, just like tinned food products from H.J. Heinz. At the extreme end of the industry, some have come up with complex models in order to blind their clients with science. That said, coaching and mentoring are often mentioned as a critical component of much personal and corporate success. Even I, as a mild cynic of "extreme coaching", was recently told by an HR Director in a mail to his senior management "Do feel free to contact Peter if you want to go through any particular issue; he really is great value for money". What’s not to like about this? 🙂
Blushing aside, although it may not be trendy, I often reach for a classic approach to coaching which just works rather than a 4- dimensional model which is only really good for colouring in. Borrowing our blog title from Scandinavian glam popstars Abba, the GROW model articulates the essential things that any good coach will do for their clients. Simply stated, GROW stands for:
Goals – What does your client really really want to achieve?
Reality – Where are they now?
Options – What innovative options may be considered?
Wrap up – What will happen next?
A great coach systematically moves their client from ‘might do’ through ‘can do’ to ‘will do’. Some coaches make the GROW model an explicit part of the process, following it in stages, others use it as a flexible template from which they operate with flair. My choice in these matters comes down to what the client wants / needs / expects rather than my own whims and preferences.
Over the next few months, I will briefly explore some of the stages of the GROW approach from the point of view of asking great questions that provoke movement on the client’s part. This ‘Socratic’ (question based) approach is just one style. In practice, I often mix a questioning approach with feedback and good old plain advice when there is a need for this, but we’ll stick to the question based approach here. I’m assuming that we’ve already heard the client’s story here and we are ready to start focusing. So, when getting someone to focus on a goal, here’s some starting questions to help:
- What do you really really want to achieve, as opposed to what you might just like to achieve? It’s the "Spice Girls" question – tell me what you want, what you really really want …
- What’s essential versus nice to have in terms of improved performance?
- If you could have it all, describe a day in your life? Is that realistic?
- If you got your needs met, what would be the impact on you and the people you work with?
- What would have to happen for you to walk away feeling this time was well spent?
- If you had some outlandish wishes about your needs, what would they be? If you could only have one of these, what would it be?
- What would happen that is not happening now?
- What will happen if this need is NOT addressed? In the immediate term? In the longer term?
- What outcome would you like from this session? How will this be of real value to you, in the short, medium and longer term?
What are your killer questions for coaching? Post them on the blog here.
For more information on 1:1 and group coaching sessions to move people from innovative thought to profitable action check the Academy of Coaching out.
Finally, we ought to remind ourselves just how great Abba are via the emotional intelligence classic "Knowing Me, Knowing You":