How do you teach problem solving?

The GROW communication modeel technique is a super easy but effective way to “grow” your leadership’s coaching skills. I’ve also used this in contact centers too as a problem solving tool. Take a look at the job aid in PowerPoint.

  • G – What’s the goal?
  • R – What’s the reality?
  • O – What’s the options?
  • W – What will you do?


Leadership Coaching
I had a supervisor concerned that a top performer was now a low performer. This was their first supervisor job. They thought “do I need to go through the PIP process? Fire them? Hard ball? What do I do?” I walked them through the GROW process.

Goal: Improve performance for this employee.
Reality: The reality wasn’t that they were now a low performer – but the reality was the performance changed. Something – their human nature, something at home, at work – triggered a changed.
Options: We listed each option on a stickey note and put them on the wall. PIP. HR. Fire. Reduction of hours. Casual conversation. Hardball conversation.
What will you do? Instead of arranging the options by logical, next step process – we arranged it by best intentions. We try to go through each interaction with a supervisor and the employee that each person will alwas have the best intentions.

The result?
The supervisor started with a casual and concerned converstation.

The recruiter through this employee had this certification and they didn’t – and their peers found out. They were making work life difficult and in turn, performance suffered.

The employee thought he was going to be fired and instead, the supervisor said the company will help to pay for this cerficiation instead.

Can you imagine what the end result would have been if the employee was PIPed first? He was the top performer. He had value.

Help Desk Troubleshooting
An example scenario for a help desk with everycall starts off with “It’s not working.”

“Whats not working”

“The printer isn’t working”

The problem is what the caller says (goal) and what the reality is are often different. And that’s when the GROW communication model turns into problem solving.

Goal: Print from the Scheduling Software
Reality: Prints from Notepad OK, test print from printer OK
Options: Restart the software, restart the computer
What Will You Do: Restart the software

The Result?
Instead of troubleshooting the printer, having the employee walk to another building and play with the settings or send the ticket to the printer vendor – the help desk agent could identify the real real – the reality and resolve the call.

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