The Power of Coaching

If I could change one thing in many of the organisations I work with, it would be to raise the coaching competence of their leaders.

So what is coaching I hear you ask? Well, it's often confused with instructing and mentoring, but couldn't be any further from the truth. Instructing is a very directive approach to telling someone what to do. Mentoring is a form of guidance which revolves around giving of advice or sharing experiences. Coaching is collaborative process that helps people to think for themselves.


Instructing Mentoring Coaching
Specific instructions on how to complete a task or achieve an objective Guidance or advice on how to complete a task or achieve an objective A conversation that elicits thought on how to complete a task or achieve an objective
More Directive << < Neutral > >> Less Directive


What are the benefits of coaching? Organisations who actively encourage and foster a coaching culture can expect to see improvements in a wide variety of areas, including:

  • Increased Employee Engagement: Employees feel that their contributions and ideas are valued.
  • Increased Productivity: Employees learn to think their own way through problems.
  • Better Interpersonal Communications: Employees collaboratively work their way through issues.
  • Increased Job Performance: If it's their idea they will own and commit to it.


So how can we actively encourage and foster a coaching culture? Unfortunately, that's the 64 million dollar question that most organisations want answered. That said, here are a few things you can do to start the ball rolling:

  1. Mandate that leaders conduct annual appraisals using a coaching approach.
  2. Mandate that leaders conduct regular feedback sessions with their teams using a coaching approach.
  3. Mandate that brainstorming sessions are conducted using a coaching approach.

Helping you leaders to understand and apply the GROW Coaching Model is a good place to start.


GROW Coaching Model

Popularised by Sir John’s Whoitmore's best-selling book, Coaching for Performance, GROW is one of the most established and successful coaching models.

GROW model


Stage 1: Goal

Stage 1 of the GROW model is arguably the most important, as it is about setting the context and focus for conversation. 



The aim is to clearly define the purpose and objectives of the conversation?

Depending on the situation, this can either be initiated by the coach or the coachee.

Context Coach Initiated Coachee Initiated
Identify the behaviour or issues to discuss   I’d like to talk about… What is the most important issue for us to focus on?
Determine the purpose or outcomes of the coaching conversation  By the end of this coaching conversation, I would like to accomplish… What would you like to accomplish in this coaching conversation? 
Agree on the process for the coaching conversation Here’s how I thought we could proceed… How does that sound?  How do you think we should proceed?


Stage 2: Reality

Stage 2 of the GROW model is about understanding their current state. 



The aim is to help the coachee gain evaluate where they are, the impact it is having on them, and the consequences of continuing down this path.

Aspects to Understand Example Questions
Understand the coachee’s perspective + What’s your view on this situation?
+ How do you feel about this?
Determine the consequences of continuing down the current path + What impact is this having on you?
+ What will happen if there is no change?
Offer your perspective, if appropriate + Could I share some observations?
+ Could I offer some other considerations?


Stage 3: Options

Stage 3 of the GROW model is about defining goals and exploring actionable options.



The aim is to help the coachee to evaluate their options and identify a desired end state.

Not unlike brainstorming, the focus should be on the quantity of ideas - not the quality.

Aspects to Explore Example Questions
Understand the vision for success + What does an ideal state look like?
+ Where would you like to be?
Set goals and performance expectations  + What would you like to accomplish?
+ What would be an ideal achievement?
Explore options and alternatives + What other options do you have?
+ Have you thought about…


Stage 4: Way Forward

Stage 4 of the GROW model is about gaining commitment.



The aim is to help the coachee create an action plan and follow-through that will lead to achieving the goals they set.

Aspects to Consider Example Questions
Develop the action plan SMART goals  + What actions will help you to succeed?
+ What will your first steps be?
Enlist support from others  + Who can support you moving forward?
+ How can I support you?
Set milestones for follow up  + Let’s review your plan…
+ When should we follow up on your plan?