Every job has its ups and downs, moments where you are getting everything right and then there is always a period where nothing goes the way you had imagined. In those tough times, what can you do to get yourself back up and running? The answer is GROW.
GROW is an acronym and a very well-known coaching technique created in the 80s by business coaches Graham Alexander, Alan Fine and Sir John Whitmore. It’s a great tool to help you get out of your underperformance rut and get back on track.
So how should you apply "GROW" to your underperformance rut?
If something happened on a car journey causing you to become lost or delayed, you would pull over, check your directions and re-establish where you were going in the first place. Well, the same applies to your career journey and the challenges that you may face along the way.
Sometimes all it takes is some quiet reflection alone with no distractions, a pen and piece of paper, and asking yourself the below questions:
Of course, sometimes at work, we can find ourselves so overwhelmingly busy that we can’t see the wood for the trees, and revisiting (and even remembering!) our most recent goals can feel like an impossible task. In these instances, I would advise asking for some guidance or direction from a boss or supervisor.
Next, you’re going to need to analyse your current situation to try and understand why you aren’t reaching your goals. How did you get here and what’s the underlying cause? It’s really important to be honest with yourself here, so that you can identify the reality of the situation, and try to pinpoint why exactly your performance is suffering.
In the case of underperformance, it can be really easy to blame other people or external factors. I’ve worked with lots of people that are struggling to reach their potential who say it’s not their fault because “nobody showed me”, “I haven’t been trained how to do that” or “it’s the market’s fault”. I understand that you can’t control some of the hindrances which get in your way, but you can take a less-defeatist approach to overcome them, which brings me onto my next point
Now you’re clear on your destination, and the roadblocks that are getting in the way, it’s time to set a new route for yourself and get back on the road towards success. This involves looking at every challenge you are facing and how you can rise to each one.
Ask yourself the questions:
You may come to the conclusion that you need to attend training or receive some coaching in an effort to turn things around. For instance, perhaps, as per the above example, you are struggling to hit your sales targets because the market is bad, and so clients are being more aggressive in asking for discounts. Whilst you can’t control this, you can take steps to improve your negotiation skills. In this instance getting some coaching or attending some training could help.
By examining the current reality and exploring the options, you will now have a good idea of how to achieve your goals and get out of your underperformance rut. Now, the final and most important step is to commit to specific actions you’ll take in order to move forward towards your goal.
For this to work, these actions must be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Scaled):
As part of setting SMART goals, you should also make a date to review your progress. This keeps you accountable and focused but also allows you to change your approach if the original plan isn’t working.
Remember that this underperformance rut doesn’t have to throw your career journey completely off course. By working through the GROW model, you will find yourself able to re-route, get back on track, and ever closer to reaching your end destination. Best of luck!
Maureen joined Hays in 2000 where she specialised in Senior Accounting and Finance recruitment. With over 17 years’ experience, Maureen is the Director for Cork, Limerick and Galway along with over overseeing the Banking and Construction & Property operations in Cork. She also provides training expertise in the area of candidate screening and interviewing.
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