What is the GROW Model? Everything You Need to Know

What is the GROW Model? Everything You Need to Know

GROW Coaching Model

What is the GROW Model? 

When you think of coaching, what image comes to mind? Likely, some sporting event where a coach is yelling from the sidelines. But, most coaching takes place off the pitch. But, as in business, it is essential to have effective coaching in place for growth.

The GROW coaching model 

Is a welcome and practical framework for leaders to develop the skills required to inspire their teams and achieve their goals.

So, what is the GROW model, and what will it do for your organisation? Read on for everything you need to know about the GROW model.

Using coaching models to enhance your work and leadership skills helps organisations hit their targets. The GROW model of coaching is a straightforward framework for leaders to adopt. It builds positive progress and helps set goals and track accountability for success.

First developed by Sir John Whitmore, a global leader in coaching science and organisational change, the GROW model is an acronym for 

Goal (What do you want?)

Reality (Where are you know?)

Options (What could you do?)

Will (What will you do?)

This four-step framework is laid out in Whitmore's 1988 book, Coaching for Performance.

The GROW model is goal-oriented. As part of developing a trusting relationship, your coach will raise powerful questions to help you realise your goals and increase your potential. These questions are four steps that make achieving goals approachable and teachable for management to inspire their teams.

There are several critical skills of being a good coach: active listening and asking the right powerful questions - it is a crucial ingredient to building trust with you.

Why Coaching is Important

Coaching is a crucial part of any organisation. You know there are many obstacles in business, so keeping a positive mindset can be make-or-break. To ensure a growth mindset, a coach or mentor can provide new perspectives to these challenges, hold you accountable, and help you gain personal awareness in your leadership skills.

Although understandably in the time-pressured world we live in, you could naturally find yourself saying: 

"I can't find the right people."

"I'll just do it myself."

"Nobody cares about my business as much as I do."

"By the time I've briefed someone on my challenge, I could solve it myself."

As a founder, CEO, business unit leader or team manager, it may feel easier to do things yourself. But you know intuitively, it is a recipe for disaster. It stunts your growth (personal and business) and impacts the people's development in your organisation. Imagine trying to fly a plane at 500 mph while you serve coffee, clean the bathrooms and while you help passengers with their luggage. That's not a flight anyone would want to be on!

It would be best to avoid waiting until you run out of time and the margin of error from learning from your mistakes has gone. Instead, look for a coach with the relevant experience to help provide you with the guidance to work through your most challenging problems quickly. 

The end game of coaching is always to achieve your goals faster. You are building an action plan together to keep you on track and keep you focused.

Now let's look at the four steps used under the GROW coaching model.

GROW Model Questions

The GROW model of coaching asks the right questions to overcome organisational obstacles and productivity blocks. This process works in four steps to fulfil goals and support, challenge and motivate leaders to achieve.

A good coach doesn't give answers to problems; they facilitate and help you find solutions independently. When leaders can hold themselves and their colleagues to take ownership and be accountable, applying a practical approach to leadership and performance coaching will inspire improved productivity and results in any organisation. 

Here is the basic four-step framework for how the GROW model of coaching works:

1. Goal

A great coach will first establish what goal the client is pursuing. Coaching is about action. You and your coach are clear on what needs to get done. After that, your coach will lead you to find the most effective and rewarding way to get it done.

Setting a goal means recognising behaviour or business targets that need improving. Each new coaching session starts with GOALS. 

Tip: For a deeper dive into the importance of goal setting, take a look at our OKR (Objectives and Key Results) - Ultimate Guide.

Goals need to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Bound.

There are various levels of goals you may have. These depend on how far in the future you are planning. GROW model examples of short-term and long-term goals could include this quarter's sales targets or expand into a new geographic market.

With a clear goal, each session with a GROW coach will stay focused with noticeable clarity. You will end your session with an agreed action plan.

2. Reality

A great coach will help their client know where they are and how they arrived there. Being honest with reality means being self-aware. Clients understand their values, beliefs, and actions in a coaching session that uses GROW as a framework.

Learning and being comfortable to lean into your intuition and emotions is a valuable skill in business, enabling your goals to be more attainable.

Being true to your reality will motivate you to hit your targets and inspire your team. Motivation is what leads a team's effectiveness and performance. In addition, being clear on your reality will better help you pivot in a challenging market or identify any barriers your company may face.

3. Options/Opportunity

The GROW model questions your goals and reality, bringing them clearly into focus. The third step in this process is the most creative; the coach and you will brainstorm how to support the best way to realise your goals.

No solution is wrong in this step. Getting creative encourages throwing out tired ideas and thinking up new possibilities. These are all the possible opportunities you can take to achieve your goals.

During this part of a GROW coaching session, your coach may provide you with some ideas. These are given as brainstorming ideas, not as directives. The options and opportunity part of coaching encourages confidence and collaboration, two essential skills you can roll model in an organisation.

4. Will

After establishing a goal, understanding the reality of the situation, and brainstorming options, the final step of a GROW coaching session is to encourage the will to accomplish.

It is essential to commit yourself to clear-cut actions. Nothing worthwhile happens without willpower and discipline to accomplish goals. Action is the incentive needed to make the changes necessary to get where you want to be. 

By the end of a session, there will be at least one explicit action that needs to be completed (or at least started) before the coach and client see each other again.

Coaching Questions & Why Use the GROW Model?

Using a coach to bring out the best leadership skills will help you nail your targets and inspire your team. 

From the CEO to the entry-level position, every employee should have the opportunity to improve their performance, feel heard, and hit their short, medium and long-term goals.

Here are some examples of the possible questions at each stage of the GROW model that a coach could ask of you/and or your team:

  • What does success look like for you? (Goal)
  • What is your number one priority right now? (Goal)
  • How will you know if this issue is solved? (Goal) 
  • What have you personally worked on for this goal? (Reality)
  • What would the result be if you did nothing? (Reality)
  • What issues have you been avoiding for this goal? (Reality)
  • If money were not an obstacle, what would you do? (Options)
  • If there were no consequences, how would you proceed? (Options)
  • What would you tell a friend to do in this exact scenario? (Options)
  • What will you do to accomplish that goal? (Will)
  • How can you ask for help if something gets in the way? (Will)
  • How can you stay committed to achieving your goal? (Will)

Choosing the Right Coach for You

If you are a leader searching for a coach that will keep you accountable, provide tangible outcomes, and develop your growth mindset, there are several critical criteria to look for, such as:

Personal Characteristics:

  • Coach's confidence 
  • Personal rapport 
  • Personal compatibility 
  • Sense of humour

Background & Experience:

  • Education 
  • Coaching credentials/experience 
  • Fit with your business/industry or role
  • Resume


  • Personal references
  • Client references

How the coaching is delivered:

  • Delivery method
  • Can they explain the process
  • Effectiveness
  • Costs/Package set-up

Alan at gloo group is all about growth solutions and turning challenging situations into opportunities for the future. An expert in driving profitable growth and motivating teams, Alan has over 20 years of experience at the Senior Leadership and CEO levels. In addition, his first-hand knowledge of being coached by the best and providing coaching has elevated the divisional companies that he's worked in across the Fortune 500 companies.

Knowing the GROW model of coaching in his approach, a session with Alan will leave you with clear goals for obtainable results. In addition, by collaborating with Alan as your coach, you will be relieved of the stress that leadership challenges present.

Book your free, 30-minute discovery call today to get started on your growth solutions!


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