What does a typical coaching session look like?

Whether you are working with a coach on personal or executive goals, each coaching session is structured so that you will know what to expect. Typically, a coach will use a model – such as GROW, the coaching funnel model, the ACHIEVE model, or their own coaching framework. Depending upon your needs and goals, the free-form approach might be the most appropriate to discover the root issue of a perceived problem.

The GROW model is widely used and was first introduced by John Whitmore. The acronym stands for “goals, reality, options, and will.” This model is great for achieving external goals, such as behavioral change and organizational change management.

A coaching session that uses GROW could begin with the coach and client establishing a goal for the session. This goal must be clear and specific in order to achieve the best results. Sometimes a brainstorming session might be needed to identify, explore, and refine a goal. Once the goal is established, the coach facilitates the client in exploring their current experiences through  asking probing, challenging, and clarifying questions. Next, the coach will guide the client to come up with options that will help the client achieve the goal. Finally, the coach and client will work together to devise an action plan that sets targeted next steps and identifies the likely obstacles to overcome. 

It is important to note that the interaction between the coach and client is dynamic, active, fluid, and creative. Sessions do not always follow a script, as some issues are better dealt with organically and as they arise. In fact, the client may realize something during a session that must be prioritized. Or, if the client has an emergency agenda, then that will be addressed before proceeding with a scheduled coaching agenda. This free-form approach is helpful in addressing deeper issues or handling emergency coaching needs as they arise.

It is helpful to think of each coaching session as an opportunity to work on pressing issues, personal improvement issues, and life issues that will enable you to take a holistic approach and achieve balance in your life and work. This process works well when you have a skilled coach to brainstorm with and who supports, challenges, and guides you to reach new heights and new perspectives.

The GROW Model in Management
The GROW Model Used in Management