Leaders Must GROW Their Coaching Skills!

Article Contributed By John Henderson

“A leader’s job is not to do the work for others, it’s to help others figure out how to do it themselves, to get things done, and to succeed beyond what they thought possible.”

Simon Sinek. 

One of the most important skills a leader needs to learn to use effectively is to know when an employee needs to be coached rather than being told. Many times leaders jump immediately to “telling” without giving the employee an opportunity to figure things out on their own. Coaching takes time, practice and patience in order to be successful.  When done right coaching helps employees learn to think strategically and come up with solutions on their own – the end result is that effective coaching will, in the long run, free up a manager’s time.  

One of the most widely used coaching models is GROW: 

  • Goal | What do you want to do? What are your goals and aspirations? 
  • Realty | Where are you now? What is the current situation? What internal and external obstacles exist for you? 
  • Options | What could you do? What are the possibilities? What strengths and resources do you have? 
  • Will | What will you do? What actions will you take?  

The GROW Model was created by Sir John Whitmore in his Coaching Framework for Leaders. This model uses effective questioning by the leader in carefully structured coaching conversations that are designed to promote deeper awareness and greater responsibility with the employee. This process helps employees decide on practical steps to implement to help them accomplish their goals and overcome identified obstacles.  According to Whitmore “coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance.”  

The old proverb “If you give a person a fish, you feed them for a day. If you teach a person to fish, you feed them for a lifetime” can easily be applied to a manager/employee relationship. Effective coaching will lead your employees to be more confident, more productive and more engaged.