BY Nicky Denegri

DATE: 10 JUL 2015


As you know now from my previous blogs, coaching is about change, and one of the guiding principles is that the client is already resourceful and equipped to make those changes.  

 So, s/he often already knows a lot about what they could do – and the coach’s role is to help them unpick what they could do, when, and how.

The GROW Model (Goal, Reality, Options, What next) allows for a full exploration of the available options – and more importantly, an exploration of the criteria against each option.  Because it’s often relatively easy to come up with a list of options, but what’s not so easy is narrowing down the options to those that will work for the coaching client.

A simple way to put this into context is in the area of weight loss.  Most of us have tried to lose weight at some time or another.  There are loads of things that we can do (Run.  Cycle.  Swim.  Reduce carbs.  Eat less (if at all) after 6pm.  Cut out snacking.  Avoid alcohol.  Etc etc etc). But not all of those options are viable for everyone, and a few of them might be really unappealing.  The client needs to a) list the options, b) identify the criteria by which s/he would know they were working and c) select the option or options which they think are most likely to work for them in the longer term.  And then it’s about planning….but we’ll come onto that next week.

Sometimes there are only a couple of options.  Other times there are loads – and you need to whittle them down to the most viable.  Sometimes though the client is grappling with an area that is genuinely new for them, and they either can’t think of any options, or can’t think of anything that seems to take them forward.  This is where the coach can step in and do a bit of brainstorming alongside the client.


The process of brainstorming is simple (although not always easy to do well).  Both coach and client have to come up with a list of options (even if the client is stuck to start off, they soon get ideas).  It’s simply about options at this point – not evaluating them.


Then the coach puts down their pen (both have been writing options at the same time) and it’s over to the client to decide which of the options they like/feel are viable.  They don’t need to spend time justifying why they don’t like others.  It’s about forging ahead.

Finally they create their criteria for each option and decide what next… a slightly longer way of getting to the same point but one that is really worthwhile because it has allowed them to remain in control of the process and are doing things that they really want to do, rather things that they feel they should do – but which ultimately won’t work for them.

So that’s it.  Identify the goal.  Look at the reality ie what they have already done.  Discuss options and really examine whether or not they are right for the person.  Otherwise nothing will happen.

I mentioned in the blog on information versus advice that one of my clients is always interested in what other people have done – which I can share (anonymised, of course) – and from there that can help him get an extra perspective on options.  He is nonetheless pretty resourceful, and often says “I know this.  It’s just about getting in the zone, looking at what I could do, and actually getting my backside into gear”!


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about the author

Nicky Denegri is our Senior Consultant. If you would like to know more about this subject, drop her an email and we will be in touch.

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