Expert Manufacturing Advice tailored for step-by-step implementation in the workplace. Small Manufacturers, Machine Shops and CAD Engineers improve and thrive with our hands-on help. Coaching for Engineers, including the GROW model Essentials Leadership and Management for Engineers

Coaching for Engineers,
including the GROW model

Essentials Leadership and Management for Engineers

Coaching for Engineers

Coaching differs from mentoring, in so much as it is concerned with the development of a particular skill. As such, it has a narrower focus. The purpose of coaching is to improve performance. Learning and development tends to be concentrated and focussed, lasting for a fixed period which is normally shorter than mentoring.

Coaching is an effective method experienced engineers can use to develop employees new to a task. This can be integrated into routine activities and provides opportunities to practice and hone skills.

The way in which People Managers undertake coaching is also important. They should be aware it is an effective way of passing on training, skills and knowledge. As such, it should be a fairly high priority for the team and the manager. Coaches should watch and listen, enabling those they are training to practice and undertake tasks. Support and guidance should be given after initial observations. Coaches need to be patience, empathetic and encouraging.

Different coaching techniques include:

  • Work-shadowing
  • Group discussions
  • Role playing
  • Demonstration and observation
  • Learning by research
  • Specific projects
  • 1-on-1 discussions

Coaching activities are often formalised into a coaching plan, providing something to work to and from which progress can be judged. The plan should contain specific aims, probably with milestones, as well as targets and deadlines. The plan should be used in conjunction with timely reviews and feedback sessions.

The GROW Model

A popular coaching technique is the GROW model, standing for Goal, Reality, Options and Will. This technique can be used to coach when there is a problem or issue that leaves employees stuck with no obvious way forward. GROW can be used in 1-2-1 sessions or in groups. It provides a structured way of thinking, more likely to help those being coached to identify the way forward themselves.

  • Goal - What is the goal or outcome you desire? Establish this clearly.
  • Reality – Describe the current reality. What is the situation at the moment?   
  • Options – What are the options? Explore their pros and cons and evaluate them.
  • Will – So what will you do now? What do you need to do to make to happen?

Coaching for Engineers

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