The coaching method can be very difficult for some individuals in leadership positions, because it’s so far away from their typical methods of communicating with those on their team.


Adam’s story

Let’s look at the example of one of my clients. We’ll call him Adam.

Adam had risen to the top of his team because of his great technical skills. He was more knowledgeable than anyone in his department, and it could truly be said that he knew what he was doing, and could be trusted with nearly any challenge.

However, when put into a leadership position, he found himself unable to relinquish tasks to his lesser skilled (but still extremely talented) colleagues. He didn’t take the time to coach his staff, because he was too worried about them making a mistake, and so he took on all the harder projects himself.

It resulted in both Adam being severely burnt out and depressed in the workplace, and his team feeling under-utilised. The team suffered from low morale as a result.

Eventually, it was brought to Adam’s attention that his team was suffering, and that he was in hot water because of it. Always the problem-solver, Adam sought for a way to easily coach his team back into the place they needed to be, while getting the results he wanted.

It just so happened that the elegantly simple GROW model was exactly what Adam needed, as it’s an easy, newbie-friendly process that can work for even those who can’t stand the thought of their team member making a mistake, messing something up or moving along at a snail’s pace searching for an answer to their challenges. It was created by John Whitmore, and it is a gift to all leaders.



The GROW model is broken down into four stages, and basically tells you how to properly coach someone. It’s as easy as having conversations, and saying the right things, to get the individual’s mind moving in the right direction, toward the solution you want them to realise.

In the Goal stage, you’re helping your team member clearly define their goal; this is done through purposeful conversations.

In the Reality stage, it’s all about looking at what the team member has and hasn’t tried to solve their challenge, and challenging their limiting beliefs which enables them to believe they can overcome the obstacle before them.

In the Options stage, you want to be careful not to automatically allow your team member one to come up with only one option — that which you’ve thought they should do from the beginning. Instead, create an environment where they feel comfortable enough to brainstorm and really think things through, while feeling safe and accepted. Encourage them to keep experimenting and exploring every single one of their options until they find a solution. Then, the last phase is easy: What next? It’s coming up with an action plan to overcome the obstacle based on the options presented.

Using the GROW model, Adam was able to take baby steps toward becoming a true coach, and relinquishing some of the hold he had on his team. His colleagues were able to become more involved, so morale grew, and as they successfully began to solve complex challenges set before them, Adam began to trust his team more and more. All in all, it was a win for everyone.


Could you win like Adam?

You absolutely can! Anyone can be an Engaging Executive. Find out more of what we do with this Vlog! Take part of our Engaging Executive Programme and become more than what you think you can only be or book a chat with me by clicking here.