The GROW Model is a coaching framework used in conversations, meetings and everyday leadership to unlock potential and possibilities. GROW was created by Sir John Whitmore and colleagues in the late 1980s. It has since become one of the most popular coaching models for problem solving, goal setting and performance improvement.

GROW goes through 4 steps: Goal, Reality, Options and Will

As a leader, you can use the GROW model to help coach your staff.

Goal: The first step is to help your staff set goals, both within each session and an overarching goal to accomplish throughout their working with you. You ask the staff member what they want to talk about, the significance of the topic, and what challenges they face in reaching their goals. Example questions for a leader:

  • What do you want?
  • What does that look like?
  • What will people be saying to you?
  • How will you feel once this is achieved?
  • What is different?

Reality: During the second stage of the process, both leader and staff outline and discuss the current reality of the situation using a variety of different methods and techniques. Example questions include:

  • What is happening right now?
  • How far are you from an ideal situation?
  • How do you feel about your current situation?
  • What is the impact on you and your life?
  • What is standing in the way of your goal?

Options: Once reality and all obstacles to current goals have been discussed, and irrelevant ‘pseudo-obstacles’ discarded, the options as to how to overcome current issues preventing progress should be examined. At first, the full range of options should be put-forward and discussed, predominantly inviting suggestions from the staff member. Example questions include:

  • What could you have?
  • What ideas do you have?
  • What actions have worked for you in the past?
  • Who could help you to achieve your goals?
  • What information do you need, and how could you acquire it?

Will: The final stage of the process is when the staff member commits to decisive actions to move towards their goal. A plan is drawn up, with the leader guiding the ideas discussed by the staff member– including specific guidelines and timings in order to make achievable progress. Example questions:

  • What will you do to achieve your goals?
  • How and when will you do it?
  • Who will you talk to throughout?
  • Are there any other measures you need to put into place?
  • How committed are you to this action?