KH: When you were with our staff, you shared a method called the IGROW method for coaching. Can you give us a two- or three-minute overview of that?
CG: One of the classic coaching methods is the GROW method which stands for:
What’s the Goal?
What’s the Reality of the situation?
What Options do you have?
What’s the Way forward?
Experts have added: What’s the Issue up front? (Thus, IGROW.)
I like to use the IGROW method when working with pastors, when it’s appropriate to do that.
What is the issue at hand? What is keeping someone awake at night? What’s on their mind? What’s nagging away that they can’t just let go? So, that’s the issue.
The G is the goal. What is the goal for this coaching session? We have limited time. How can we set a goal that we can actually work towards and try and come up with a resolution or a way forward at the end.
The R stands for reality. We’re trying to use questioning skills to raise their awareness of the current situation. What’s working now? What’s working for them? What’s not working? When is working? How is it working? Digging with questions like, “Tell me some more about that.”
There’s a technique called the A-W-E question: “And what else?” Remembering that is really helpful.
Allow time for the awkward silence.
Often, you need to allow time for people to contemplate, to allow time for the awkward silence, and “What else?” just helps people to dig further and find those solutions. It’s a really important question in coaching.
O in the IGROW method stands for options. You’re trying to help them shift their perspective towards actions and solutions. What options do they have? What are they doing that’s already working? And what else? Also, what are the costs and benefits? So, if they choose to do this thing, or if they choose to use that method or go this direction, what’s going to have to go at the expense of that trade? Help them to see there’s a cost/benefit with options.
Then W stands for the way forward. You’re trying to help them to sit and gain commitment to action steps that you can follow up on with them later. “What are the next steps to take?” “How are you going to move forward?” “How can you keep track of your progress?” “Who will support you in this?” “How confident are you that you’re going to achieve this?” “How committed are you to it?” That’s a scaling question as you’re doing those action steps. Answering “How committed are you?” will actually reveal whether it’s something they really want to put in place.
That’s kind of a broad overview of the IGROW method. In general day-to-day ministry, I think the pastors and lay leaders probably change more using a task-based coaching method. Things like: “What do you think you are doing well?” “What do you think you could do better?” “This is what I see you doing well . . .” “This is what I think we’re able to improve on . . .” and “What’s a way forward with some action steps?” That’s a simple task-based method that people can use in various ministry trellises or structures.
KH: Excellent. We’ve had Colin Marshall from your ministry come and share with our staff before, and you came most recently. There’s a budding friendship between VineGrowers and Leadership Resources International. How would you describe the connection and the friendship between our ministries?
CG: We’ve gotten to know LRI through various people (through Sean Martin and others). At VineGrowers, as I said before, we’re trying to help grow a culture of disciple-making disciples in the church. We want to see people being prayerful, patient proclaimers of the Word of God in their daily lives, growing in Christlikeness (we say “learning Christ”). We try to help people learn Christ and help others do the same, to evaluate and structure all their trellises around helping people to do that. That’s what we’re on about at VineGrowers. We coach pastors through The Vine Project, which is a five phase book to bring about this disciple-making culture.
You guys are about a movement of the Word, training pastors around the world to be able to preach expository sermons, and more. You’re trying to create a movement of the Word. That was so encouraging for me when I was over with you guys in April. That’s what we’re about as well. We want to see a movement of the Word through all our churches from around the world. A movement of the Word in people’s lives, in their families, in their neighborhoods—and so we feel kindred with LRI. We’re working in slightly different ways, but it’s an important friendship for us.
KH: Where can people learn more about about VineGrowers?
CG: They can go to TheVineProject.com. We’ve got a free resource library with hundreds of resources through which you and your church can be disciples who make other disciples. We would love you to join that free library. There’s dozens of videos and interviews and case studies and templates. TheVineProject.com or you can go to The Vine Project Facebook page. We’ve got a page for members who are actually working through The Vine Project, who are trying to build this disciple-making culture in their churches.
The Vine Project book is available through Matthias Media. It’s a follow on from The Trellis and the Vine as many people would know. You guys have talked about The Vine Project before [watch our interview with Colin Marshall], so to read the book would be great.
[Editor’s Note: Since the recording of this interview, VineGrowers has released The Vine Project podcast. Check it out!]