The GROW Method For Coaching People

The GROW Method For Coaching People

What do you say when a person gets into the habit of coming directly to you with a problem or issue and asks, “What do you think I should do?”

Your subconscious urge will be to provide your recommendation, or even make the decision for them. Your ego gets stroked because you get to play “the expert”. It feels good.

I call it “chasing the bone”. Someone throws you the bone, and you go galloping off to fetch it like a good dog. You bring it back with your tail wagging. You get to feel like a hero. Mission accomplished.

Don’t chase the bone!

If you are the manager or team leader, you are making a big mistake without realizing it. You unwittingly make the person dependent on you for problem-solving and decision making. You are missing a valuable coaching opportunity to grow the capabilities of the person.

Rather than being an effective delegator, you have become the victim of what I call, “reverse delegation”. Your people won’t learn how to think through the issues and make decisions because it’s easier to come to you. When people become dependent on you for decision making, this makes you a bottleneck to company growth.

Stop playing the hero, and start coaching and developing a team of people who can think for themselves and make (or at least recommend) good decisions.

The GROW Coaching Framework.

I recommend training your people to use GROW coaching framework. Ask a selection of these questions in the order prescribed G-R-O-W:

G = Goal. 

What is the goal? What is the desired outcome? What problem are you trying to solve?

R = Reality. 

What is the reality? What is happening? What are the facts? What does the data say? Why is it happening? (hint: ask why 5 times to identify the root cause) 

O = Options.  

What options do we have? What else? What are the pros and cons of each option?

W = Way Forward. 

What do you recommend? What is the next step? What option would you choose if it was your decision to make? 

Take control of the bone, by throwing it back to them to fetch.

Your goal is to coach your team members to use critical thinking to solve problems and make great decisions without you needing to be there all the time. 

I also encourage people to present their problems to me in writing using the GROW framework, so I can discuss their thought process with them and understand how they arrived that their recommendation. You GROW your people by turning each suggestion or problem they have into a valuable coaching and teaching opportunity.

Yes, things may take longer to resolve initially, but you must be disciplined if you want to stop getting sucked into “reverse delegation”. Whenever someone comes to you asking, “What should I do?”, push back, and coach the person to present the issue to you in this manner until it becomes their new default behavior.

Alternatively, if there are decisions where people really do need your input or sign-off, you want your team to present a range of options (ideally at least two) along with their thoughtful recommendation as to which option they would choose if it were up to them to decide.

This makes your job so much easier. You are now becoming a leader who is growing a team of leaders.

Who can you use the GROW method with this week?


Until next time…