GROW in 4 steps

Coaching is a learning journey, a journey of self discovery and unlocking potential. How do we do this in reality? Like anything else in life, structure is important and it helps us deal with what life throws at us. This is equally important in coaching. In this post, I share on the GROW model as a framework to help shape and guide the coaching relationship. The GROW model is widely used, it is fairly straightforward and simple to implement. The model was originally developed in the 1980s by Sir John Whitmore.

The GROW Model assumes that the coach is not an expert in the client's situation. This means that the coach must act as a facilitator, helping the client select the best options, and not offering advice or direction.

This is probably the most overlooked point about coaches - a coach is not an expert in the client's situation. It should be considered a benefit because it removes the burden for the client in thinking that dealing with an expert can be intimidating or overwhelming. And also a reminder to coaches (myself included) to not project onto the client, my (their) experiences and knowledge. Always bearing in mind that it is more powerful for people to draw conclusions for themselves, rather than having these conclusions thrust upon them.


GROW is an acronym that stands for:

  • Goal.

  • Reality.

  • Options (or Obstacles).

  • Will (or Way Forward).

The GROW model helps improve performance, its person-centred and it can be used in any situation (formal or informal, coaching or mentoring) for any purpose (career or business-oriented).



GOAL - As mentioned in a previous post - goal setting is the first important step. In order to set a goal, an honest self reflection requires the client (with the support of the client) to examine the behaviour that they want to change, and then structure this change as a goal that they want to achieve. It has to be a SMART goal: one that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. The most useful questions to consider are: Does this goal fit with their overall career objectives? How will we know that this goal is achieved?


REALITY - People try to solve a problem or reach a goal without fully considering or taking stock of their starting point, and often they're missing some information that they need in order to reach their goal effectively. The beauty of assessing your current situation is that solutions may start to emerge. Useful coaching questions in this step include the following:

What is happening now (what, who, when, and how often)? Have you already taken any steps toward your goal? Does this goal conflict with any other goals or objectives?


OPTIONS - In this step, we determine what is possible – brainstorming all the possible options for reaching their objective. Discuss these and help them decide on the best ones.Typical questions to explore options are as follows: What are the advantages and disadvantages of each option? What obstacles stand in your way?


WILL (Way Forward) - By examining the current reality and exploring the options, the client is in a better position and has a better idea of how they can achieve their goal. But this step requires specific actions that the client needs to commit to in order to move forward to their goal. I have discovered that this step really helps to boost their motivation and will to keep going. Useful questions to ask here include: So, what will you do now, and when? What else will you do?

What could stop you moving forward? How will you overcome this? How can you keep yourself motivated? When do you need to review progress? Daily, weekly, monthly?


The progress review is part of the cyclic process in coaching. From a client's perspective, coaching is linear, there is a beginning and an end. Without realising it, there is an embedded learning loop to ensure lessons are learned and applied, always moving towards the direction of their goals.


Coaching may be for a season, short term or situational. It is an opportunity for re-evaluation, re-prioritising, and rejuvenating ones desires and intentions to become more. The knowledge gained, resources used and changed behaviour exceeds expectations and has longer term benefits.


Thank you for visiting. If you have any questions, big or small, please get in touch.


'She will be known by the boldness of her faith'











(Source: MindTools - The GROW Model of Coaching and Mentoring, A Simple Process for Developing Your People)

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