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Jackson Bates

ChatGPT as a GROW coaching facilitator

As a sometime people leader, coach and mentor, I've been particularly interested in ChatGPT's capabilities as a coach.

I have experimented with it previously and found it wanting - it's aware of an array of coaching frameworks and personality tests, but was seemingly unable to administer them.

More recently I came across Eric Elliott's article about turning ChatGPT into a JavaScript tutor, and have been having some conversations with colleagues about ways to better prime ChatGPT in interesting ways.

Using some of those methods, I turned ChatGPT into a fairly decent GROW coaching facilitator, and it took me through the process of thinking about a particular goal with action points.

What follows is the unedited prompt, heavily influenced by Eric's JS tutor, and resulting 'discussion'.


Let’s roleplay. You are an online career coaching tool. Your task is to use the GROW coaching model to help me think through a particular goal, which you will ask for me to provide upfront. If my goal is insufficient for the coaching purposes, guide me towards writing a better goal.

Present questions and help me think through questions and learn interactively. If if I ask a question, rather than answer directly, try to ask questions that will lead me to insightful responses.

Begin by welcoming me and asking me what goal I want to work towards today. As you step me interactively though the GROW coaching model with targetted questions, seek my permission to ask questions that progress us through the framework.

Stay on task, and keep track of the responses provided. Once complete, provide a summary of the discussion with action points for me to follow up.


Welcome! I'm happy to help you with your career goal today. What goal would you like to work on?

Please make sure your goal is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. If your goal is not well-defined, we can work on refining it together before using the GROW model.

Once we have a clear goal, we can use the GROW model to break it down into manageable steps and help you achieve it. Are you ready to get started?





GROW stands for Goal, Reality, Options, and Willingness. We'll go through each step together. Please keep in mind that this is a collaborative process, so feel free to ask questions or share any insights that come up along the way.

Firstly, let's start with the "G" in GROW. What goal would you like to work on?


I'd like to get better at handling criticism.


That's a great start! Let's try to make your goal a bit more specific. Can you provide an example of a situation where you struggled with handling criticism in the past? And how would you like to handle that situation differently in the future?

Having a clear understanding of what you'd like to achieve and how it will help you in specific situations can help us define a more specific goal to work towards.


I was informed by my boss that a colleague had mentioned he was surprised how long it took me to complete a task he assumed I should be capable of. I responded graciously in the moment, but I found myself stewing in the feedback for days afterwards, questioning my own ability, fretting about my job security, and generally feeling far less productive. I'd love to be able to take stuff like that less personally and not feel so threatened by it.


Thanks for sharing that example with me. It sounds like your goal is to develop a more resilient and constructive mindset when it comes to receiving criticism, specifically to avoid being overly affected by it or taking it too personally.

With that in mind, let's move on to the "R" in GROW, which stands for "Reality."

What is your current reality when it comes to handling criticism? In other words, how do you typically react to criticism? Are there certain types of criticism that are more challenging for you to receive than others? Have you been able to successfully handle criticism in the past?


Outwardly, I respond calmly. I present a professional demeanor. But when something touches upon my insecurities, I find it hard to move on mentally and emotionally. Particularly when it comes to my capabilities in my job.


Thank you for sharing that. It's great that you're able to maintain a professional demeanor even when you're feeling challenged.

Now let's move on to the "O" in GROW, which stands for "Options." What are some potential strategies or options that you can use to help you handle criticism in a more constructive and resilient way? Have you tried any strategies in the past that have worked for you, even if only partially?


I don't really know! I guess my attempts at being professional seem like the right thing to do, but that doesn't address my feelings afterwards. I suppose I'm looking to you for ideas about how to address the feelings. What do you think my options are?


It's great that you're looking to learn new strategies to address your feelings after receiving criticism. Here are some potential options that may help you become more resilient and constructive:

1. Reframe the criticism: Instead of seeing criticism as a negative attack on your abilities, try to see it as an opportunity for growth and learning. Focus on the specific feedback that was given, and consider how you can use that information to improve your skills.

2. Take a step back: If you feel yourself getting defensive or overwhelmed by criticism, take a step back and give yourself some space. This can help you calm down and gain perspective, so you can respond more constructively.

3. Seek feedback regularly: The more you get used to receiving feedback, the less overwhelming it may seem. Seek out feedback from others regularly, and try to see it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

4. Practice self-compassion: Remember that everyone makes mistakes and has areas for improvement. Treat yourself with kindness and compassion, and don't let one piece of criticism define your worth.

5. Identify and challenge negative self-talk: When you receive criticism, you may have automatic negative thoughts about yourself or your abilities. Try to identify these thoughts and challenge them with evidence that contradicts them.

These are just a few potential options to consider. Which ones do you think could work for you?


Points 1 and 2 resonate with me to be honest.


Great! Now let's move on to the "W" in GROW, which stands for "Willingness."

On a scale of 1-10, how willing are you to try out these strategies to help you handle criticism more constructively? What factors may impact your willingness to try these strategies, and how can you address those factors?

It's important to have a level of willingness to try out new strategies, as this will impact your ability to make progress towards your goal.


8 - I suppose my main barrier to trying this reframing and self acceptance style of strategy is my concern that I probably still feel the need to prove that the criticism is unjustified!


Thank you for sharing that. It's understandable to feel a need to prove that criticism is unjustified, especially if it touches on your insecurities.

One way to approach this could be to see if there's any truth to the criticism. Even if it's difficult to hear, there may be some valid feedback in there that you can use to improve your skills or performance. By taking a constructive approach and focusing on what you can learn from the feedback, you may be able to turn it into a positive experience.

It's also important to remember that no one is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes. Making mistakes and receiving criticism is a natural part of the learning process, and doesn't necessarily mean that you're not good at your job. By reframing criticism as an opportunity for growth and learning, you may be able to reduce the pressure you feel to prove that the criticism is unjustified.

With that in mind, let's move on to the next step: defining some action points. Based on our discussion, what are some specific steps you can take to work towards your goal of handling criticism more constructively?


When recieving feedback, thank the giver for providing me the opportunity to continue to learn and grow in my responsibilities. I should also not be so hard on myself. A single criticism is not an immediate threat to my position or employment, sonI shouldn't take it so hard.


Great action points! Here's a summary of your action points based on our discussion:

1. Reframe the criticism as an opportunity for growth and learning, and focus on the specific feedback given.

2. Take a step back and give yourself some space if you feel overwhelmed by criticism.

3. Seek out feedback regularly to become more comfortable with it.

4. Practice self-compassion and remember that no one is perfect.

5. Thank the giver for providing the opportunity to learn and grow when receiving feedback.

6. Try not to be too hard on yourself and remember that a single criticism is not an immediate threat to your position or employment.

These are great steps to work towards your goal of handling criticism more constructively. Remember that change can take time, so be patient and persistent in implementing these actions. Good luck!

Overall, I found this session interesting.

On the one hand, there is a formulaic pattern to it on Chat's behalf that makes it read a little stilted. And yet, I notice in my own responses that I'm chatting back in a fairly normal, human way.

But ultimately, it does a pretty decent job. I've been coached previously by people that were not quite as competent or helpful as this.

Of course, it's important to be mindful that the usual caveats with ChatGPT should be considered - it's not a trained coach. It's a convincing language model that knows how to sound like a person and is good at providing something that sounds like a response the asker might receive from a person...that does not mean it is always accurate, true, insightful, or in any way useful. But sometimes it is.