GROW Model for Coaching

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The GROW Model for coaching is one of the most established models in the coaching industry. The model can help you coach and guide others to improve his or her performance.

GROW is an acronym for:




Will / What when whom


The model is simple, but every effective. The model provides a great framework for structuring a coaching session.



Four Stages

The GROW Model for coaching is a tool to elicit and maximize a person’s potential through a series of conversations. The model flows as a sequence of steps to facilitate discussions.

  1. Goal – defining what he or she wants to achieve
  2. Reality – exploring the current situation
  3. Options – coming up with new ideas, alternative strategies and courses of action for reaching the goal
  4. Will / What’s Next – deciding on a concrete plan of action What is to be done, when, by whom and the will to do it.

These steps will result in the creation of an action plan of practical techniques to overcome obstacles and accomplish goals.

Changing the Order

Although it is designed as a sequence, it is not intended to be a rigid structure that must be followed in precise order. It should be used as a guide to help direct a person in order to improve his or her performance.

For example, you may need to go back to re-establish a specific goal if you find the current situation will not allow him or her to accomplish the goal.

Also, when discussing options, you should go back and review the goal to ensure the options will help you move towards the desired goal.


Raising Awareness through Questioning

By using carefully structured questions, you promote a deeper awareness for the individual. You allow them to reflect on what they would like to achieve, assess their situation, and create a plan of action.

By working through the four stages, you can raise his or her awareness and understanding of:

  • his or her personal and/or professional goals
  • his or her current situation and beliefs
  • the possibilities for courses of action and resources available
  • the actions he or she want to take to reach their goals

In addition to awareness, you provide guidance and encourage proactive behavior that will lead to setting practical steps to accomplish goals.



The GROW Model for Coaching through the Four Stages

GROW model for coaching

Goal – Establish the Goal

The first step is to identify and clarify the goal to be achieved.

This goal should be written as a SMART Goal. That is, it should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. By setting SMART goals that are both inspiring and challenging, the GROW Model helps foster confidence and self-motivation, leading to improved performance.

During this stage, you should ask questions regarding what they hope to achieve.

Questions to define the goal may include:

  • What is important to you?
  • What specifically do you want to achieve?
  • What’s important about this for you?
  • Why do you want to achieve this goal?


Reality – Examine Current Reality

After a goal is established, you want the individual to assess the current situation. This is done to determine how far they are away from their goal.

To do this, you have them view it in terms of the action taken so far as well as all the steps he or she needs to take in order to achieve the goal. The “Reality” would be the number of steps they have completed so far and what is still left to do.

Effective questions about reality can help raise an individual’s awareness of their situation. You want them to understand the obstacles currently preventing or limiting progression. This will help to prepare them for thinking about options.

Asking open-ended questions invites them to look from different perspectives and in greater depth.
Questions to examine the current situation may include:

  • What is the situation that you are currently in?
  • What have you done so far?
  • What do you still need to do to reach your goal?
  • Is there anything slowing your progress?
  • Are there any roadblocks in the way?
  • What resources do you have?
  • Are there other people that can help you?



Options – Explore the Options

Once you have explored the current reality, it’s time to explore the options for reaching the goal.

This stage helps identify the possibilities and alternatives. This is the stage where you ask questions about potential options for reaching the goal.

Questions should encourage creative and divergent thinking, and not focus on assumptions about boundaries, as they can limit options.  “What if…?” questions are a great way to expand thinking past the usual mindsets and boundaries.   These types of questions enable people to step outside their current perceptions of the situation.

Open-ended questions to help explore options may include:

  • What could you do?
  • What ideas can you bring in from past successes?
  • What haven’t you tried yet?
  • What approaches have you seen used in similar circumstances?
  • What if you had enough time?
  • What if you had enough money?
  • What if you had help?
  • What if this obstacle was removed?



Way forward – what will you do?

Establish the Will

This stage is about generating commitment on behalf of the individual to take specific action. By doing this, you also help create his or her will and motivation towards achieving the goal.

In this stage, you want the individual to create a plan of action for implementation of the identified steps. You want them to be specific about what is to be done, and when it is to be done.

Questions to help create a specific plan of action may include:

  • What will you do?
  • What actions can you take right away?
  • How long will it take?
  • When will you start?
  • When will it be done?
  • Will this action help reach your goal?
  • What else will you do?
  • Who do you need to involve?
  • What are the benefits of reaching your goals?
  • How will you feel when you reach your goal?


Additional Links

Coaching Models

FUEL Coaching Model

The GROW Model


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