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apply GROW coaching.
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Tools for You and Your Team
You can download and print this poster for your office and meeting rooms to remind you and your team when and how to coach.
You can download and print this quick reference card for your leaders and teams to remind each other when and how to coach.
I want to coach yet I don't have time. What do I do?
The most common misconception about coaching is that it takes longer. Your goal is to achieve BETTER results in LESS time. Most GROW coaching conversations take less than 5 minutes, and most are much less than 10 minutes.
With GROW Coaching, you focus on four questions with a bit of followup inside a focus. GROW Coaching focuses on a specific domain and allows you to ask some questions so the person gains insight and takes action. Many professional coaches dig into longer conversations of 30 minutes to an hour to explore multiple challenges. GROW coaching means you choose the focus and ask questions to illustrate your commitment to the person and their development.
Just like anything else, the more you practice, the faster and more comfortable you will be. Because with practice you get more comfortable. You will see that this approach replaces the way you have conversations now. Instead of telling leaders and teams what to you, you engage them to discover how to solve challenges on their own. You save time in the long run because you build capacity in others.
Do I tell others I am learning? How?
It depends. On your relationship and your confidence. We recommend you share with others that you are in a leader development program. Three reasons: because you will feel more comfortable, they will be more patient as you find the right questions and you can ask for feedback easier when the conversation is over. The 2-minute challenge frame works well here:
Acknowledge the behaviour
You are committed to (insert commitment) and the (insert behaviour)
With your leaders: You want your leaders to see you are practicing and applying what you are learning. So framing leader coaching on a specific focus can be useful to help your leader hear to you differently.
Start by saying something like: “As you know, I’m committed to developing myself as a leader and that means coaching others more frequently (including you!). And the more I practice with leaders like you, the more confident I’ll be coaching key influencers. Therefore, I’d like us to invest in each other by coaching each other more often. So if you are game, let’s start with (Focus). And perhaps, if you are comfortable after – you can give me one statement on what I did well and one on how I can develop.”
With your peers: You want your peer to be committed to your development and success. So framing coaching on a specific focus can be useful to help your peers hear to you differently.
Start by saying something like: “We’ve been working well together as peers. I’m in (leadership program) and have seen a lot of value in working through challenges with others. And I appreciate the commitment you have to (insert their commitment). I trust you get my commitment to (insert your commitment). And the more we invest in each other’s success, the more successful we’ll be. Therefore, I’m open to investing in each other by coaching each other more often. So if you are game, let’s start with (Focus). And perhaps, if you are comfortable after – you can give me one statement on what I did well and one on how I can develop.”
With your team: You want your team to hear your commitment. You can do this by allowing them to see you practice and applying what you are learning. So framing coaching as a specific practice for YOUR and their development can be useful to help them invest in your success leading the team.
Start by saying something like: “I’m in a leader development program and realized that I could be more committed to developing myself and others more frequently (including you!). And the more I practice with you, the better I’ll get at coaching. Therefore, I’d like us to invest in each other by coaching each other more often. So if you are game, let’s start with (Focus). And perhaps, if you are comfortable after – you can give me one statement on what I did well and one on how I can develop.”
How can I coach if I am not knowledgeable about a subject?
The second most common misconception about coaching is that you have to be an expert. In fact, expertise means you are less likely to coach and more likely to tell. Too many leaders believe they add value by directing others what to do. Instead, you ask and you learn about their experience, their perspective, what options seem possible to them and how they would like to move forward.
You don’t have to be a subject matter expert to coach. You support someone else work through an issue that they know best using a proven process. In fact, there are advantages to not being a subject matter expert since you don’t have a bias and as a thinking partner, you can help the person work through different options and ways forward.
How do I do coach virtually?
Simple. Almost any conversation can be easily flowed into a coaching conversation with a question about their Goal or Reality or Options or Way Forward. You just ask a question. The same way you would face to face.
Often coaching is easier on the phone or over video. You really do not have to take someone for coffee or book a meeting room – that takes too long and can trigger anxiety for others. Especially if you are their boss!
Give notice unless you have a strong relationship. Say something like, “Hey let’s invest 10 minutes working through (insert focus). Love to hear how you think it through and what actions could accelerate.”
Keep it simple with focus. Start with a focus. Avoid starting with vague questions like, “How are you doing?” Instead start by asking a specific question about a focus so the coaching conversation will be complete in less than 10 minutes. Ask something like, “Where do you want to be on (insert project) in 30 days?” so the conversation is immediately framed for the person.
How do I know if I am coaching properly?
There are two ways of knowing.
1. After the conversation, reflect on how much you listened, asked open-ended insightful questions and if the other person has a specific Way Forward.
2. Asking the other person, something like: “what was helpful about our conversation” or “how valuable was our conversation?”.
The key is to stop thinking that coaching is about you having the answers. Your role is to ask questions, listen, clarify and gain commitment to a way forward. If (and only if) its useful, you can share your lived experience to surface some more questions, options or ways forward. Yet remember that this is more about you than them! And makes the conversation last longer.
Your questions matter to us, your peers and you
We want your questions! All these questions come from you, our participants. We’ll answer your question so please click on the chatbot and ask us anything. Your question helps us and other leaders get clear on what’s required to move from learning to the performance environment. Ask a question now… please.