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The GROW model

What is the GROW Model?

The GROW (Goal, Reality, Options, Wrap-up) model is one of the most common coaching tools. The power of the GROW coaching model is that it leads to a clearly defined end result through four phases. The coachee is personally active in identifying problems and generating ideas for solutions. The means that anything that comes out of the coaching session has a lot of chance to be achieved. The GROW coaching model stands for learning through experience: reflection, insight, making choices and pursuing them.

How to use the GROW coaching model

The beauty about working with the GROW coaching model is that you don't need to be an expert in your coachee's specific situation to be able to coach them. The GROW coaching model offers a framework with general questions to elicit goals, obstacles, options and more without ever needing to offer advice or force any particular direction. In a sense, the coach provides a dynamic vehicle for the coachee's development.

The steps in the GROW coaching model

A diagram of the GROW model is here

GROW coaching model - Step 1: Goal

The first step in the GROW coaching model is defining the goal of the coaching. Depending on the type of coaching this can include long term goal (end achievement) and short term goals (for each session). Goals need to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Acceptable, Realistic and Timely.

Example questions to identify the goal:

What's important to you when it comes to [theme]? What will reaching the goal give you? What do you want to achieve in [theme]? How will you know you've reached your goal? How will you know the problem has been solved?

GROW coaching model - Step 2: Reality

Step two of the GROW coaching model is becoming aware of the actual situation the coachee is in. The coach's role here is to stimulate self-evaluation with the coachee and identify the obstacles that have been holding them back.

It's important to keep focussed during this phase! Keep on summarising and repeating what you understand from the coachee. Often, this phase of the GROW coaching model reveals underlying fears and convictions that can be worked on during or in between coaching sessions.

Example questions to discover the reality of one's client:

What's happening to you now? What, when, with whom and how often? What is the result of that? Why is this theme a problem? What are concrete examples of this problem? What's been going wrong so far? How do you manage to fail? Teach me how to do it. What went well? Is this always a problem or are there situations in which it isn't? What are the defining factors? What can make the difference? What have you done so far?

GROW coaching model - Step 3: Options

Step three of the GROW coaching model is to generate ideas that can contribute to the solution of the problem. Try to start a creative brainstorming process without censure or conditionality. Generate solutions, then structure it to evaluate every option. If needed, you can also offer some suggestions.

Example questions to generate options:

What else could you do? What would you do if [obstacle] didn't stop you? Imagine you already reached your goal. How did you do it? What if this obstacle wasn't there anymore? What else do you need to reach your goal? Where can you get it? Which criteria will you use to evaluate this option? What are the pros and cons of this option?

GROW coaching model - Step 4: Will

The fourth and last step of the GROW coaching model is the choice of one option. This is converted into a concrete plan of action. Then the coachee's motivation to follow this plan is maximised.

Example questions to maximise the will:

What exactly will you do to reach your goal, and when? Which of these options will you take? What concrete step can you take NOW? What steps come after? Are all obstacles taken into account? How will you overcome your obstacles? How motivated are you, on a scale from 1 to 10, to go for this option? What do you need to have a 10? Where can you get it? How can your surroundings support you? Will this plan get you to your goal? Will it solve the underlying problem, too?

Self-Coaching: Using the GROW Model on Yourself

To improve your performance and develop a roadmap to your personal success, you can also use the GROW model on yourself: identify specific goals you wish to achieve; assess the current situation; list your options and make choices; and, finally, make steps towards your goal specific and define timing…..

( This article was adapted from the work of Sir John Whitmore and reproduced by kind permission of LSIS)