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How to Use the GROW Coaching Model

Coaching helps people take control of situations that they previously may not have been able to. This could be because of any number of reasons such as, lack of confidence, poor decision making or lack of direction. However, not everyone has the benefit of receiving professional training to become a skilled coach. Many people have taught themselves through trial and error and a series of highs and lows in post coaching results. If you are thinking that sounds hard. You´d be right. Learning coaching skills as you go can be extremely difficult and stressful. That said, if you develop your skills through practicing a proven coaching model, both your confidence and results will grow in the right direction. Excuse the previous pun but an extremely effective coaching model that you can put to use with no previous training is the GROW Model.

How to use the GROW model for coaching

For anyone who is new to the world of coaching, the GROW Model a simple yet powerful platform to build your coaching sessions on. The would-be coach can act as a facilitator who neither offers guidance nor steers people in a particular direction. Instead, people are encouraged to find their own solutions by weighing up the possible options. Using the GROW Model provides the new coach with practical experience in the basic fundamentals of coaching: Don´t advise, don´t offer expert opinion and don´t plan the direction. Instead, allow people to come to understand the situation themselves and encourage them to make informed decisions.

Understanding the GROW Model

G – Goal

R – Reality (current situation)

O – Options / Obstacles

W – Way Forward

To help you understand the GROW model, it´s useful to think about how you would plan going about getting a new job. Firstly, you would define what job you want to get (your goal), then you would need to take stock of where you are now (your reality). You would then look at what was preventing you from getting it (obstacles) and look at your what you could do to give yourself a better chance (options). Finally, you would commit to a plan of action (way forward).


  • I want to get a job in IT support


  • I have some experience, but I lack all of the qualifications needed

Options / Obstacles

  • I need to gain one specific qualification
  • I can enrol for this course in the evening at the local college
  • I can enrol for this course online as a distance learning course

Way Forward

  • Research the best option for doing the course.
  • Enrol for the course
  • Complete the course and pass at the required level by next summer
  • Update my CV
  • Apply for relevant positions

The benefits of using the GROW coaching model

How to use the GROW Model in Practice


In your first coaching session, you need to identify the behaviour or situation that the person would like to change. People are often reluctant to embrace change and so for this reason there is good value in phrasing this change as a goal that the person wants to achieve. However, all goals need to be SMART.

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Attainable

R – Realistic

T – Time-framed

It´s useful here to consider things such as:

  • Does this goal fit with the team or department objectives?
  • Is it relevant to the person´s career growth?
  • How can this goal be measured?


This step is absolutely vital. Of course, all the steps are vital, but all too often people start to race ahead towards their goal without considering the reality of their current situation. By failing to assess the current reality accurately, you may miss potential obstacles and run the risk of moving forward in the wrong direction.

To determine the current reality, you can ask questions using:


Important note:

In coaching sessions, it is best to avoid using questions that start with WHY. It can come across as judgemental and put the person who is being coached on the defensive. When this happens, people often try to justify their actions or decisions, even though they know in their heart that it wasn´t right.

The following questions may be useful:

  • What is happening with your situation right now?
  • How did you get to this point?
  • Who else does this affect?

Options / Obstacles

Firstly, explore the options that are open to the person for them to reach their goal. List as many options as you can and don´t discount any idea, no matter how random it may seem. Run a brainstorming exercise and then break the list down into categories. From there, you can look at the pros and cons of them all before deciding on the most viable options.


it´s important that your guidance comes through questioning and not opinion. The idea is that you help the other person explore different options through a series of questions. They should make their own decisions based on the options that they thought of.

  • You can use the following questions to explore options:
  • What are the pros and cons of this option?
  • What other things do you need to consider?
  • What obstacles are blocking your way?
  • What could you do if this obstacle was removed?
  • What things do you need to stop doing?

Way Forward

In this coaching session, you have already covered some good ground:

  • You have established the goal
  • You have assessed the current reality
  • You have explored many options and chosen the most suitable

Many people know what they need to do and wat they should do but not everyone follows through on a course of action. As a coach we need to make sure that the other person commits to a specific development plan to achieve the end goal.

I have said that you should never use WHY in coaching sessions and so we are going to change that word to REASON. If you can get the other person to keep in mind their reason for wanting change it will make getting commitment so much easier. If their reason is big enough, they will find the motivation to complete the plan of action. That is of course, with you the coach holding them accountable.

Useful questions here include:

  • How will you stay motivated?
  • What is the first thing that you will do?
  • What will you follow up with?
  • What will you do if your plans don´t go smoothly?

To hold the other person accountable, it´s a good idea to set a date to review progress. They are more likely to start working through their plan of action if they know that there is a review session in the not too distant future.

Using the GROW coaching model to get results


Coaching is about getting the other person to do the talking. To do this, you have to ask a series of structured questions. Listen attentively as this will often uncover some issues. Don´t be afraid to let silence play a part in your coaching session. Sometimes a short pause is good for reflection and it´s better to allow a little time for reflection than to just fill that silence with a question just for the sake of it. If you are relatively new to the coaching world, make a list of as many questions as you can for each stage of the GROW model. Not only will you sound more in control of the situation, but it will steady your nerves and boost your confidence. Lastly, coaching is not just about asking questions. We needto set SMART goals so that we can measure the value of our coaching sessions.



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