Somaliland: Managerial Coaching, the GROW Model and Beyond.

Managerial Coaching, the GROW Model and Beyond

SoCoaching is something that in most organisations occur on a regular basis. Sometimes it is a highly structured process and sometimes it is something that happens spontaneously in the workplace. One of the most known models of coaching was developed in the 1980s by  the British scientist Sir John Withmore. It takes its aim in four different dimensions, Goal, Reality, Options and Will. Those can also be regarded as four distinct steps of action. If we start with goals.

According to Withmore people don’t often have a clear understanding about their goals and when you engage in a discussion with someone whom you are coaching you should first try to determine what the person want to accomplish, what are the tangible goals, both in the near future but also long term. If you are working on a project it is also important to understand what goals the person want to reach, not only in terms of the project itself but also at a deeper and personal level.

Also in a relation and in interaction it is important to determine what the person wants to get out of the exchange. How can I as a manager help the person reach his or her goals regarding a project or at a personal level because the two are often deeply connected?


The second dimension has to do with Reality. Once you have established the goals the next aspect to touch upon is the reality aspect of what is at hand. Questions like, what, where and when makes the conversation more tangible and real. In this step, you can sort out the practical aspects like with whom you need to cooperate, when do you have to initiate a process and what should it look like.

People often tend to overlook parts of the picture. Sometimes they are focusing on the operational but forget about the human aspects and the other way around. It is important that the person you are coaching develops a holistic picture so

he and she can be more efficient and take the right decisions.

Options are the third dimensions and it has to do with clarifying the options at hand, often people feel stuck and the options identified by an outsider might not be as easily identified for someone who is deep inside a process. I think we all been in a place where we don’t know how to move forward so in this step the coach needs to help the person they are coaching to identify the different options and their respective up and downside.

The last step of the process is Will. It deals with two different senses of the word will. The first you should do is ask the person, what will you do, a question that encourages the person to look at the more specific course of action, stemming from your talks. If successful the person has a clear sense of what he or she will do, in other words, a clear path or course of action. If this has not happened you need to trek back to the earlier steps in your conversation to sort out what is not clear. In the second step,

if all is clear, you should ask the person how likely it is that they will act in the way they stated. If you use a scale of one to ten and they answered 8 or above they are most likely motivated to follow the course of action laid out. If the answer is 7 or less you also need to go back to the earlier steps in the process.

The GROW model is one of the more famous models of coaching but as always when it comes to humans there are no easy ways. Sometimes, research has shown that people simply give us the answers they want to hear or that they are simply not in the process. Coaching others is a difficult process with many pitfalls but coaching, if successful is a good tool when it comes to improving both employee satisfaction and effectiveness.

One thing is clear and that is that economies such as the Somaliland economy must find a competitive edge and to make up for lost ground. Competence, skills and advantage are words that becomes more and more important in the global economy, no matter how you achieve it. To build a winning team.

Today borders are increasingly erased and the competition that faces the firm, comes not only from actors within your own market but also from external actors. The rise of the  global economy is a great opportunity for African firms to penetrate foreign markets but it also increases the demands for a skilled and motivated workforce.

Models like the GROW models have been around for a long time and perhaps the key to a future Somaliland success is to penetrate foreign markets but in order to do this, firms need a skilled and highly motivated workforce. What is needed is an improvement in the education system, perhaps most of all the higher education and a focus on consumer value.

Coaching, teambuilding and cultivating a customer focused corporate culture is all up to the firm but the government must also contribute trough a strengthening of the educational system and deregulation. In short, the government must do its part to allow firms to GROW, growth does not occur trough regulation but rather the opposite.

Research clearly shows that firms with their base in deregulated markets such as the US have a much greater chance of success in the globalised and increasingly digital international market than those firms that are based in regulated markets with a high tax policy such as Sweden.

The key to success for Somaliland businesses is twofold. The first thing that must happen is that the government must provide the growing ground for businesses and secondly, the firms must implement programmes to focus around consumer value, development of competence, motivation on teambuilding. Then perhaps it is time for Somaliland to rid it self from the spectres of the past and just GROW.

In this case GROW has a dual meaning and is perhaps the key to success. Giving companies and the employees the opportunity to develop and reach new heights can transform not only the individual or the firm but the society as a whole.

The author Henrik G.S. Arvidsson is an award-winning researcher and lecturer in international business and marketing. He has over 25 years of experience as a business consultant and currently owns businesses in the fields of business consultancy, Fiduciary, recruitment and logistics.

The co-author Ruslana Arvidsson is a political scientist and business consultant, specialised in innovative governance and innovation