Coaching Helps Teachers to GROW

Made famous by Sir John Whitmore, a famous sports coach turned business coach in the 1980s, the GROW model is a very practical coaching model driven by a powerful coaching philosophy. 

The GROW Model is a coaching framework used in conversations, meetings and everyday leadership to unlock potential and possibilities. Since the 1980’s it has become the world’s most popular coaching model for problem-solving, goal setting and performance improvement.

It is one of the models currently embedded within the new Coaching Professional Level 5 Apprenticeship launched by City Skills and Education Training specialists Olevi. 

The GROW model is an acronym, it stands for:

G: goals and aspirations

R: reality of the current situation

O: opportunities and possibilities

W: want, how much desire is there for actions and accountability

But as Damian Mitchelmore, Managing Director of the OLEVI Alliance explains there are other systems and processes coaching apprentices might put in place.

“There are a number of models that you could use in a coaching conversation, and one of them might be the GROW model, the T-GROW model or as we prefer even a GROW-N model. Importantly, as well as introducing a number of impactful models, this apprenticeship teaches someone how and when to use a model and how to bespoke and change the model to fit their context.”

“For example, we prefer to use the GROWN model, which adds an additional step to the GROW model. The N is crucial because it allows us to focus on where a coachee or the conversation is right now. We will encourage coaches to ask questions like ‘where are you now?’, ‘what have you learned now?’, ‘what you thinking now?’ having answers to these questions creates a clearer picture of what the next step might be.”

“We teach coaches to identify the growth in a person they are coaching. Has the person grown as a result of the coaching session specifically or are they leaving with an action which will lead to their growth? The GROW model is very much about, what next step is the coachee going to leave with, but actually, we think it is important to identify whether that person has grown as well.”

Olevi and City Skills have worked in partnership for a number of years creating apprenticeship programmes that are designed specifically for schools and Multi-Academy Trusts. The curriculum content, along with the knowledge and skills developed and behaviours learned, are all designed around the most common teaching and support roles found in education settings.  

But, the creation of this enhanced model, with an additional step at the end, doesn’t detract from the importance of identifying the individual or organisational goals at the outset of any coaching relationship, as Damian explains. 

“If you want to move from a learning organisations to a coaching organisation, you must be really committed to exploring the goal; what it is you want to achieve? What does it look like? Why do you want to achieve it? And where are you now; what is your reality.”

“Too many organisations, for example, say they have a problem with behaviour and then try to solutionize straight away rather than exploring the problem more deeply to really understand why it is that they want to improve behaviour and what a great outcome could really look like.” 

“Coaching allows individuals to create clarity over where they are now, what they are trying to achieve and what the preferred destination looks like.”

“What’s really transformative about coaching is being able to change someone’s mindset, which leads to more self-confidence, more reflection, and more independence more buy-in. and ultimately more fulfilment.”

Coaching is about shifting someone’s mindset so that they believe in growing other people. The Coaching Professional Apprenticeship transforms people into coaches that fundamentally believe the people that they work with can solve their own problems and can grow. 

“Coaching in schools challenges limiting beliefs, coaches can listen for what’s not being said as much as what is being said. They can understand when a colleague uses a generalisation or makes an assumption about what is going on and what can be done about it.” 


Whichever coaching model is employed, the key to a successful coaching outcome is the empowerment of others to take responsibility for their own actions and development, in achieving whatever goals they have set. But as Damian explains empowerment leads to engagement and development, creating a happier staff body. 

“Coaching is a way of making people feel valued because they are being given the time to think and talk about themselves; where they are, what they want to achieve, why they want to achieve it, but it also creates a sense of fulfilment because ultimately they are the ones that actually own their next moves. In this sense coaching allows an individual to choose and make their own decisions, it puts them firmly in control.”

“Coachees are treated as professionals, so it encourages self-belief, it encourages self-development and it creates really meaningful relationships in an organisation as well because people, feel listened to and valued.”

For more information about coaching in schools contact us today.