As per my previous article on coaching were I explore the question “what is coaching?”, I use the general definition that “Coaching is a human development process that involves structured, focused interaction and the use of appropriate strategies, tools, and techniques to promote desirable and sustainable change for the benefit of the coachee and potentially for other stakeholders”.

By any definition, if you don’t coach your team as a leader you aren’t maximizing opportunities to help them perform at the highest level and you are probably missing out on the sustainable improvements your organization needs to be successful. Good news is that you don’t need months or years of training to do the basics of coaching as a leader, it can be a very simple and informal process built into daily conversation and catch ups.

So, let’s explore how to use probably the most basic and well-known coaching model of all, the GROW (Whitmore, 2009) model. A couple of things to note, firstly coaching is a fluid process, so steps 1 and 2, in particular, can be interchangeable and secondly the coaches role is to manage the process and guide the coachee, whereas the coachee is responsible for the content and development of any goals and agreed actions.

The GROW model

Step 1 – Goal

Discuss and agree on the goal or outcome of the coaching session and make sure they get specific. Whether you use SMART target setting or not, you need to know the what, why, how, who and when, for the coaching process to be time efficient and effective.

Step 2 – Reality

This step is all about understanding the current reality of the situation, what’s getting in the way and what strengths and resources could be used to move forward. Don’t let the coachee generalize and wallow in negativity, this is about specifics and switching their mindset into solutions mode.

Step 3 – Options

This step is about looking for different options or pathways towards the goal. It’s about exploring what worked in the past, what strengths and resources could be leveraged, what might get in the way and what they can do to overcome it.

Step 4 – Way Forward

The way forward is about agreeing what specific action they will take, by when and what support they might need from you along the way. Make sure the coachee owns this step, because self-determination, particularly in terms of setting goals and deciding on what to do to achieve them, is a key factor in successful goal achievement.

If you’d like to learn more or discuss your coaching or leadership development needs please don’t hesitate in contacting Simeon Boseley via email, or go to for more information, current leadership development programs or articles.