The G.R.O.W. Coaching Model in Leadership: Part Two

The reality of farming in urban areas may include issues such as soil contamination, water availability, volunteer labor and non-profit status. Pictured here, OSU Extension educators visit a potential urban garden site to help coach a community group on the realities of starting an urban farm in Cleveland, Ohio. (Imagine one of your students, colleagues, or mentees asking for your help on their own project or idea’s realities.)

Have you ever wished you had the skill or natural ability to do something but learned you simply were not very good at it? For me, it was sports and musical instruments. I could play both … but not nearly as well as I wanted.

In her 2016 book, “8 Great Smarts,” Dr. Kathy Koch describes categories in which we all have talent and ability, but with manifestations in (sometimes greatly) varying amounts. My average sports ability and coordination, along with my musical limitations were simply realities.

This “reality” is the second consideration to investigate when coaching someone using the G.R.O.W. model.  Review the first part here.

As a reminder, G.R.O.W. is a simple acronym that provides a way of structuring coaching sessions. It requires no formal training. Only your willingness to ask questions and listen to responses.

Goal: What do you want to achieve?

Reality: What/where are you now?

Obstacles/Options: What is in your way? What are the options?

Way Forward: What are the next steps to move forward?

Now, let’s talk about REALITY. Look at the person you’re coaching. What are their current challenges? What’s happening right now in terms of their goal that might hinder or help them? Remember, as a coach, your job is to help them discover for themselves what their reality is. You should not simply give them the answers. That’s much less effective and may lead them in the wrong direction.

Here’s a quick exercise: Fold your hands, interlocking your fingers. See which thumb is on top. For me, it’s my right thumb. Yours might be different.

Now unfold your hands and do it again — this time with your other thumb on top.

It feels off . . . doesn’t it?

Now, fold your arms in front of your chest. You’ve done this a million times. It’s natural.

But now try folding your arms the other way … with the wrong arm on top. You may have to think about it before successfully doing it; this doesn’t happen as easily or naturally.

Here’s the point: We are creatures of habit. Our brains are conditioned for our personal reality. So how can we, as a coach, help someone get out of their comfort zone and discover a different way of thinking — a new approach that might move them more quickly toward their goal? It might be uncomfortable at first, but this kind of challenge can be very effective.

What’s your reality? How can you begin to work with it, or around it, to move forward?

We’ll talk about obstacles and options next time ...

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Here at Lead Read Today, we endeavor to take an objective (rational, scientific) approach to analyzing leaders and leadership. All opinion pieces will be reviewed for appropriateness, and the opinions shared are solely of the author and not representative of The Ohio State University or any of its affiliates.