Is REACH the new GROW in Coaching? 

Coaching is now considered a core skill for leaders at all levels. Defined by Sir John Whitmore as “Unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance,” coaching emerged in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s as a means to empower individuals and teams to reach their goals in the workplace. Good coaches worked with individuals using a variety of tools, skills and frameworks to inspire and motivate people to draw on the resources and competencies they have within themselves.

GROW has endured to become the world’s most popular coaching framework.  Born out of the need to understand and leverage what makes a successful coaching conversation, the GROW model which stands for Goal, Reality, Options and Wrap-Up, has guided coaching conversations for close to thirty years.

Today’s most professional coaches draw from up-to-date knowledge of the behavioural and social sciences. They understand how to develop human potential and have an approach that fosters building not just individual but organisational capability. This has required continual development of tools to enable and support practitioners to have deeply transformational conversations.

One of the contemporary tools gaining traction is the REACH© coaching model. Built to address some of the perceived short comings of other tools, REACH© is now well-established and replacing the GROW model in a wide range of organisations across Australasia and beyond.

A healthy start for REACH©

The REACH coaching model was developed by Kathy McKenzie, CEO of Fire Up Coaching in 2008 to meet the needs of a large client in the Health sector. Coaching was still in its infancy in Australia and they needed a holistic model for having coaching conversations that was sophisticated enough to enable the depth of conversations that arise in the Health context but practical enough to roll out on a large scale. Evidence based coaching was also gaining momentum and REACH provided a more robust approach to supporting capability development.

When they looked at the popular GROW coaching framework the client noted that the model jumps straight into goal setting without acknowledging how critical rapport is to the success of a coaching relationship.  They wanted to really emphasise the building of rapport and trust to help people open up and engage fully in the process.

Another key aspect perceived as missing in GROW was around the coachee internalising the value and importance of achieving their goal. Ensuring they could clarify and articulate the reason or the benefits of getting their desired outcome McKenzie believed made it more likely that they would take the actions they had identified to achieve it.  This was also validated by the research coming from the International Coach Federation.

Often people get very little validation and acknowledgement for their efforts. McKenzie and colleagues had long since realised that concluding a coaching conversation by authentically honouring the coachee meant they left the session energised, believing that they can achieve what is important to them and feeling good about who they are - something the client also saw as critical for developing and embedding a successful coaching culture.

In response to customer demand, the REACH© Coaching Conversation Model was born. The REACH© acronym stands for Rapport, Explore, Action, Clarify and Honour.

The REACH© Coaching Conversation Model

Rapport Building rapport is essential to get coachees engaged and in the space of trusting and opening up, prior to gaining agreement on what a successful coaching conversation topic or outcome would be.
Explore Most of the conversation is questioning and exploring the topic at deeper and deeper levels. Various tools and techniques can be applied to access the sub conscious. The key to quality answers is asking quality questions that are solution oriented and focused on possibilities not problems.
Action An effective coaching conversation leads to action steps that are stated as SMART goals which can be measured and monitored.
Clarify Clarifying the value in achieving the outcome cements the importance of realising each goal and builds the desire to make it happen.
Honour Reflecting on the value of the coaching conversation and authentically validating and honouring the coachee means they leave the session feeling good about who they are and believing they can achieve their goals.

Coaching for a greater return on intelligence

To become a skilled coach requires training and practice. REACH is now the core of a Diploma in Leadership, Coaching and Mentoring offered by Fire Up Coaching which is endorsed by the International Coach Federation (ICF), the body taking the lead in defining coaching and setting professional and ethical standards for coaches.

The proof is in – it is no longer just about return on investment but return on intelligence and coaching is a great method for fostering that emotionally, socially and mentally.

Next Steps:

Please contact me if you’d like to work with a Peak Performance Coach or Mentor, discuss whether the Fire Up Diploma is right for you, or read the full article Why REACH is the new GROW in Coaching in Spark Magazine.

Posted: Friday 28 October 2016

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