G.R.O.W as a Coach

By | September 1, 2014

In my last post, Coaching v Mentoring, I talked about how, in my opinion, a Coach is someone who helps people “identify and achieve their goals” and that a coach should do this through questioning rather than “the coach influencing or giving their own opinion on the subject”.

Surely, this is easier said than done? How is it possible to coach people in achieving their goals just by asking them questions?

A goal setting model developed in the corporate coaching sphere in the 80s called GROW might be able to help? GROW stands for Goal, Reality, Options, Will/Way Forward.

The Goal is what the coachee wants to achieve. It should be very clear what that goal is and therefore it should be clear when it has been achieved. “What is your desired outcome?” and “How will you know when you achieve it?” are some questions that could be asked during goal setting.

Reality is next. This is where the present reality is explored, and what barriers they may have overcome or are currently facing. Questions to ask could be “What have you done specifically so far to achieve your goal?” and “What is the biggest challenge that you’ll need to overcome?”.

Options explores beyond what the coachee has tried or thought about before, and tries to get them to brainstorm further ways that they can get towards their goal. Here you could ask “If you had all the time you needed, what would you do?” and “If you had a friend in the same situation, what advice would you give them?

Finally comes Will or Way Forward. This is where you get commitment from the coachee as to the action that they are going to take. For example “When specifically are you going to take action?” would get them to articulate a commitment, and “What might stop you?” would help them to consider building a contingency plan.

The focus on the goal and exploring the options with the coachee makes GROW an effective model for coaching both individuals and teams.


Have you had experience of using the GROW model or any other coaching model? It would be great to hear about your experiences if you have.

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