Coaching is simply about helping someone else to learn, and by extension, to grow and develop through that learning.  It is often described as short-term and task focussed. It differs from mentoring in that there is not much room for the development of relationships, other than those established during the short coaching experience.

In Scouting, coaching takes a different approach to the traditional instruction based idea. For us,  coaching could be viewed as concentrated support for the adult being coached, to help them recognize their own needs and discover their own solutions through careful, but deliberate coaching so that they can consider new ways, new thinking, and remove any barriers (often perceptual and psychological), to reach greater heights in learning not previously experienced.  Coaching is helping adults to reach their full potential.  

The role of a coach is to facilitate the learning, utilizing their particular skills to assist an adult to improve individual performance, gain new knowledge and skills, and learn.

In coaching, the responsibility for learning lies with the individual, and not with the coach.  As already noted, this is a bit different from what most know coaching to be.  However, this form of learning is much more empowering for the individual, creates greater ownership, and has longer-lasting performance results.  It is not rocket science, but it does work.

Responsibilities of Coaches
  • First, we must realize that when we accept positions of leadership, people will be looking up to us. We have a responsibility to listen to them, to pay attention to them, and to attempt to understand what it is they want and need.
  • We also have a responsibility to convey our values through our actions. We must be willing to live by the standards that we are expecting others to uphold.
 What Coaches Do
  • Provide task direction and vision.
  • Provide skill instruction.
  • Build a team and individual capabilities.
  • Provide resources.
  • Facilitate external relationships for individuals and teams.
  • Transfer responsibility for success to the team.
  • Support the growth and progress of adults.
GROW Coaching Model

Look anywhere for coaching models and you will find GROW.  Originally developed in the 1980s by coaches Alexander, Fine and Whitmore, it was at that time, and still is today, one of the most accepted and understood of all coaching models.  Four stages utilize each letter of the word GROW,  often depicted as a cyclic model in quadrants: goal, reality, options, and will. 

Goal – the starting point where the goals and outcomes are agreed using good questioning by the coach.

Reality – the learner or coachee describes their current situation, assisted by the coach’s questions which help self-assessment and personal evaluation.

Options – the learner or coachee explores how they can get to their goals, looking at all possible ways or options. When they run out of ideas the coach offers suggestions and utilizes tools like concept or mind maps to ensure all options are considered.  

Will – the learner is asked to commit to an agreed option or action with the support of the coach.

There are multiple models to consider and all are useful.  Discover what the OSCAR Coaching Model (2002) and the OSKAR Coaching Model are all about.  They are worth exploring, and together with GROW, can provide a useful toolbox for coaching development and understanding. Research what others think are the Top 10 Effective Coaching Skills, and the 10 Top Tips for Being a Really Great Coach. 

See also:

GROW in Scouting

Decisions for the Future

Assessment Dialogue

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