You don’t Become a Great Coach by Learning GROW

Two women in a coaching session
We feel that GROW is an okay start but to truly work with clients, coaches need to progress beyond structural models. Help your client set their own trajectory for the coaching session. Provide a space that can be model-free which allows a more dynamic and creative coaching experience. We know this from the coaching research – the biggest indicator of success is not how we use the model but the way we build an alliance, a trusting partnership with our clients. That doesn’t happen by just learning GROW.

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Great coaching goes beyond learning a model and applying that to your clients. In fact, to us Integrative Coaches, that feels unethical where you are fitting the model to the client rather than truly coaching the person. 

GROW is one of the more widespread models on how to have coaching conversations. Yes, GROW is simple to grasp (and a quick 30 minute online search and a bit of practice will give you a good foundation) but human beings aren’t simple – we’re complex beings! So is relying on GROW enough? 

Whilst it’s good to familiarise yourself with GROW (we in fact do this on one of our earliest sessions on the Level 1 Diploma in Integrative Coaching) recognise that great coaching requires self awareness, heightened interpersonal skills and a deep understanding of human behaviour and motivation. Now that’s harder stuff to learn than a model! 

At Become we don’t want you to just learn GROW and use that with all your clients. We want you to develop your self-awareness that true mastery as an ICF Coach goes beyond learning the model itself. 

So let’s delve into what else you can do to elevate your coaching practice beyond GROW:

Expand beyond Models – We understand that great coaches look at models as just one piece of the coaching puzzle. Great coaches are aware that their role extends beyond simply following an acronym or a formula. That models are just one part of this equation.

Become Confident Working with Difficult Emotions – understanding your emotions as well as those of others requires work. By leveraging frameworks such as Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) in our Diploma, our coaches can navigate the complexities of a client’s experience more confidently. As you develop as a coach, learn how to adapt your coaching style so that you can truly be present and work in that difficult space with your client (if need be!). Empathising with the emotional aspects of coaching goes beyond the structural framework of GROW.

Lean into Flexibility and the Client’s Flow – whilst GROW provides comfort and structure, the true magic of coaching happens when we work in the unknown. Where there is enough trust between you and the client that they feel you are providing this non-judgemental space. This does wonders – it allows the client to stay in flow! The client share more honestly and meaningfully, not only to you but more importantly to themselves.

Let go of your Expectation to be an Expert – the ICF (the world’s largest awarding body for coaches) talks about coaching as being a partnership where the coach is not more powerful than the client. Quite the opposite! This (misleading) belief that coaches have to drive the session can lead to an imbalance of accountability. This is what can happen if your coaching becomes too GROW/model focus. The client relies on you for the next step. Learn instead ways of making the client more accountable, to help them facilitate their own self-discovery.

Embrace Co-Creation – Help the client set their own trajectory for the coaching session. Provide a space that is model-free which allows a more dynamic and creative coaching experience. We know this from the coaching research – the biggest indicator of success is not how we use the model but the way we build an alliance, a trusting partnership with our clients. That doesn’t happen by just learning GROW.

These are some of the aspects and challenges that we talk about to our trainees when they sign up to one of our ICF Accredited Programmes

We provide a supportive environment that facilitates self-discovery and allows you to create a coaching framework that is in line with psychological evidence, the ICF Competencies and the person’s experience. It is truly an integrative process. 

Are you ready to work in this space where you can have a profound impact on your client’s development? 

If so check out our Level 1 Diploma in Integrative Coaching, the Level 2 Advanced Diploma in Integrative Coaching, hear from our Alumni or meet us on the free Coaching Fundamentals Workshop.

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