R – Reality:
Reality is about the client understanding their situation and how they got there. It’s where we question, challenge, reframe and reflect back to our client where they are, what they’ve done so far, what’s working and what isn’t. It’s about really getting into where the client is right now and why. It should include talking about feelings and digging into emotions, gut-feelings and intuition – often new or uncharted frontiers for our clients.
For me, the Reality section is the ‘meat’ of any coaching session where we raise our client’s awareness around their values, priorities and beliefs – so they gain insights and learn about themselves.
O – Options:
If the client could solve their problems alone they would have done. Often what they need from us is help brainstorming, a push or some support to take an action they have been putting off. It may involve tweaking an existing action, challenging and inspiring them to make an action bigger or it could also mean shrinking an action to make it more achievable. Either way, a good dig around in the ‘Options’ to find actions and solutions that really work for our clients pays huge dividends in moving our clients forward. Tip: I have often found that the best and breakthrough actions come out toward the end of the Options discussion, so make sure you allow enough time… Check out our FREE Questions Worksheet “37 Questions to Liberate Your Clients From Themselves” for some great Options (and Action!) question ideas.
W – Will Do:
The essence of coaching is change – some sort of action – even if the action is to change the way they do something, to stop doing something or even do nothing! I always make sure every client leaves their session committed to at least ONE action otherwise our session would simply be a conversation. And while a conversation can be helpful – nothing changes unless something changes. Tip: Check-in with the clients about how they FEEL about their actions. Can they commit to them 100%? Is there time to fit the actions into their busy lives? Would they like to be stretched more, or do they need to simplify their actions to maximise the chances of success?
W can also be – “WHAT do you need from me?”: Ask this question to find out what they need from you to support them.
W also stands for – WIN: “What was your biggest win of the session today?” As mentioned under ‘Goal’, I always ask some variation of this question at the end of my sessions. By asking this, we not only reinforce the value of coaching but over time both you and your client will learn what’s really important to them.
So, what’s missing from this model? Perhaps a review of actions set at the last session. It’s possible this would come up under ‘Topic’ or ‘Reality’, but unless we explicitly ask it could get missed. I usually start my sessions by reviewing the actions from the previous session – but at whatever point you do this, an action review is essential for accountability.
I see the GROW model as the coaching session “basics”. Without any one of these elements, something would be missing. And, the great thing about the GROW model is that you can apply any other coaching tool or model over the top. But as long as you follow this simple structure, you can’t go wrong – the GROW Model is your ultimate coaching tool!