Journey Coaching

In my preparation to teach a class on leadership for supervisors this week, I came across an old favorite, the GROW model of coaching. It's been around a long time, and even has a wikipedia article devoted to it, where the authors trace its lineage back to the book The Inner Game of Tennis by tennis coach Timothy Gallwey.

The GROW coaching model works like this:

G = Goal - Start with the goal. What is it you want to achieve?

R = Reality - Then look at where you are now, the present reality. Assess the gap between the reality and the goal state.

O = Obstacles & Options - In looking at the gap that you'll need to journey, identify, as best you can, any obstacles you can see or think you are likely to encounter. Then generate alternative options for ways to deal with the obstacles and successfully traverse the gap.

W = Way - Finally chart your course, the way you will go from where you are now to where you want to arrive.

Very simple and elegant. Just the kind of model I like best.

I've been coaching for many, many years. Both as a parent and in my field of Training and Organization Development, coaching comes with the job. (I even had the opportunity to develop a global coaching model for the world's foremost authority on management development.) And for the past several years, I've been doing quite a bit of career coaching, helping job hunters to find their way toward employment.

Now I have a quandary before me. Since there are a plethora of coaching flavors on the market today --executive coaches, business coaches, life coaches, sales coaches, and career coaches, to name a few-- What sort of coach am I?

In thinking about it for a long time, I'd say I am a Journey Coach.

Throughout my life, I've always felt drawn to the call of the journey. I like to take trips, and absolutely love poring over maps, looking for routes between point A and point B. Even while travelling abroad, say in Ireland or Germany, one of my favorite things to do is find back roads that would enable us to get where we wanted to go but see the local color along the way. (That's probably why I like travel guru Rick Steves so much.)

And now with Google Earth, I can zoom in and peruse roads in the Ukraine and figure out how to get from Kiev to Tarascha where some of my ancestors came from. Some day I hope to make that trip.

So, to net it out, I've come to the conclusion that the coach I see in the mirror is a Journey Coach, one who helps others to find their way toward their goals.

Maybe that's why I decided to call myself the learningvoyager when I started to blog in 2004?

As Alan Cohen has written, integrity is "when the life you are living on the outside matches who you are on the inside."

Update Added July 1, 2010: Adapting the Shared Wisdom model of Sr. Mary Benet McKinney, I have added a first step before GROW that I call WISE which stands for:

W = Wise Words: What is your piece of the wisdom on the topic at hand?

I = Internalize: What does it say to you? What does it call you to?

S = Share: Share with others. Seek their share of the wisdom.

E = Externalize: What does it mean to the team? the organization? the customer?

The WISE+GROW Journey Coaching model can be used with individuals and teams. It starts with sharing wisdom on a topic or issue. The client(s) and coach share and discuss their pieces of the wisdom, even bringing in wise external perspectives. This careful sifting is a discernment process that feeds and enriches the goal setting process.

This post written by Terrence Seamon on October 7, 2009. For more tips on journey coaching, sharing wisdom, and goal setting, check out Terry's website Facilitation Solutions and invite him to your organization.


Anonymous said…
Gautam Ghosh introduced me to your blog. It's really a rich resource for me, who wants to be another "Journey Coach" !!

Any training & development would be a combination of imparting knowledge, developing skills and attitude.

I hope to learn from your blog as to how to design programs for "skill development" in my field (personal finance)

Terrence Seamon said…
Nice to hear that Gautam led you here.

This is a very good post! I will use the GROW model for my weekly self-coaching. It is very clear and easy to implement. Thank you for writing this!


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