What Is the GROW Coaching Model?

For Managers

The GROW coaching model was created in the United Kingdom by Sir John Whitmore in the 1980s. It is one of the world’s most popular coaching methods to identify ways to solve problems and achieve goals and is appreciated for its simplicity and consistently positive results.
GROW Coaching Model

Even though the GROW coaching model is adored by the coaching community, it is also favored as a leadership tool for its ease of use. One of the benefits of this coaching framework is that it elicits participation from the person being coached so the coach is able to lead the client through an exercise without telling the client what to do. This results in greater involvement by the client, which leads to a higher likelihood of positive results.

There are a number of versions of this model, but GROW is an acronym that commonly stands for Goal, Reality, Obstacles or Options, and Way Forward. These are the four steps that must be taken to reach a specific outcome or goal. You can think of the GROW coaching model as a simple process that helps a coach take a client on a journey to reach a goal.

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Grow Coaching Model Steps:

  1. Goal. Identify the goal that is desired.
  2. Reality. What is the current state of affairs? How far away is the goal? This step is truly a reality check.
  3. Obstacles or Options. What is standing in the way of goal achievement and what options are available to remove barriers?
  4. Way Forward. Action steps must be created to help a client reach a goal. The “W” here can also refer to the “will” to work to achieve a goal.

This model is a simple and excellent way to walk a client through a process to achieve a desired goal. Yet, the secret sauce is in the coach asking the right questions. They must uncover obstacles and help the client become involved in making the changes required for goal achievement.

Making a plan is not enough to ensure success. The client has to own the plan and this ownership starts with step 1 in the process.

Grow Coaching Model Exercises

GROW coaching model exercises are completed in the four GROW Coaching Model steps. In each step, the coach asks the client specific questions to help brainstorm ways to achieve goals through new approaches and removing barriers. The following are questions that may be asked by the coach in each step of the framework:


What specific goal are you trying to achieve?
What is it specifically you are trying to change?
What outcome do you want to see?


How far off is the achievement of your goal?
What do you need to do that you are not currently doing?
Is the right goal for you?
Do you have the skills, capital, etc. necessary to adequately achieve this goal?

Obstacles or Options

How could you do things differently?
What options exist to help you achieve your goal?
What specifically will you change to achieve your goal?

Way Forward

Exactly how committed are you to reaching your goal (use a 1-10 scale with 10 being the most committed)?
How will you know when you have achieved your goal?
Who, what resources, or what else do you need?

Grow Coaching Model Examples

GROW coaching model examples are numerous as this framework is useful in a number of settings. This framework can be used in an individual or team setting.

The following are some GROW coaching model examples to give you an idea of where this model is used:

  1. Individual. The most frequent application of the GROW coaching model, the framework is used in this setting to help your client achieve a singular personal or professional aim.
  2. Team. The GROW coaching model is an excellent tool to help a group of team members gain clarity on joint goals and motivate them to meet those goals. Morale can also be improved through this process as individuals will come together in unison once they understand how they all uniquely contribute to the achievement of a joint goal.
  3. Organization/Management. Any leader must be able to coach those they lead. The GROW coaching model is a great framework to help non-professional coaches mentor employees.

The beauty behind this framework is that the leader can learn more about an employee’s goals and how each employee is intrinsically motivated through the questions posed. Employees that are part of a coaching culture will be more involved, leading to greater productivity, morale, and longevity within an organization.

Grow Coaching Model Template

GROW Coaching Model

Click here to download the MC Grow Coaching Model Template.

GROW Coaching Model – Growth Through a Simple 4-Step Process

The GROW Coaching model is a great starting place for anyone faced with helping a team or an individual reach a desired goal. This simple framework is used by life coaches, leaders in organizations and executive coaches alike.

This model is a great way to structure developmental discussions with staff members and to help team members come together to achieve joint success. Asking the right questions and listening to develop clarifying ones is also a big contributor to the success of this model.

The steps in the GROW Coaching Model are a great tool to add to your coaching conversations. Be prepared to revisit each step in the process as needed to ensure there are clear action steps set in place to achieve desired results.

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