GROW Model – A Mentoring and Coaching Tool

What is coaching?

Coaching is a cyclical process of elevating the other persons’ awareness of what is really going on, guiding them to select responsibility for the actions they will take to achieve their objective and supporting them to evaluate the performance.

Coaching with teams develops the opportunity for organisational impact and performance.

Mentoring Tool- GROW Model

The GROW model is a tool that can be used in many different mentoring/coaching ways and is a productive technique often employed by both new and experienced career coaches. However, the successful application of the tool depends upon several factors, including dynamic, flexible use of its key features as well as effective questioning techniques. The GROW model can also be viewed as “techniques” or “approaches” or a framework around which future tools can be developed.

How Does the GROW Model Work?

The GROW model was developed by John Whitmore in his book “Coaching for Performance.” GROW is an acronym based on the following key coaching phases:

  • Goals – Determining the candidate final “goals” and objectives.
  • Reality – Taking time to describe the candidate’s current situation before discussing or taking any proactive steps.
  • Options – What are the ” alternatives ” or actions available to the candidate
  • Will – What agreed on activity “will” be taken by the candidate to achieve their final goals.

Setting Goals

Firstly, a session must have a goal or an objective to be achieved. The goal should be specific and it must be measurable if it is to be measured and achieved. So, having identified the goals, some simple questions like “What would you like to achieve in this area?” are useful starting points. It is very important that the goals are stated in a positive manner e.g. ‘I would like to achieve……..’ as opposed to ‘I must not fail………’. The objective of the special coaching session should also be discussed.

Typical Questions

  • What would you like to achieve?
  • What result are you seeking by the end of the period?
  • What steps can you identify, with their timeframes?
  • How far do you expect to get in the planning of this?
  • Where do you see your way going?

Reality Checking

Knowing what you would like to achieve will largely depend on knowing where you are starting from. i.e – the present situation. This is often a key starting point and once this is known, the resolution becomes clear and straightforward.

Typical Questions

  • What is the current situation?
  • What are your concerns about it?
  • What obstacles need to be overcome?
  • What actions have you taken so far?
  • What resources do you have? What resources do you need?
  • Who is affected by this problem, other than you?
  • How much control do you have (personally) over the result?

It may be necessary to review the original goal and discuss – ‘given the current reality how challenging/realistic are these goals?’

Options Stage

Once you know where you are and where you want to go, the next phase is to describe what alternatives you have for achieving your goals. A useful analogy for GROW is a geographic map: once you know where you are going (the goal or objective) and where you are (current situation), you can explore possible methods of making the journey (options) and choose the best one.

Once lists of potential solutions and options have been generated, then the benefits and costs of each option can be considered. Suggestions from a coach should be considered as possible solutions only – not the answers. The solutions must come from the participant and not the coach.

Typical Questions

  • What are all the different ways you could approach this problem?
  • Make a list of all the alternatives, large or small, complete and partial, and their options?
  • What else could you do?
  • What would you do if you had more time, a better budget, or were the manager?
  • What would you do if you could start again with a new team?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of each of these options?
  • Which would give you the most satisfaction?
  • Which would give the best income?

Will Stage

The purpose of this phase is to convert a discussion into a decision. You must also have the motivation or will to make the journey. The “W” is often taken to mean a number of other elements of a session, all of which are important. Myles Downey in his book “Effective Coaching” recommends it stands for “Wrap-up”; others have it standing for What, Where, Why, When and How. But whatever is emphasised, the desired result from this stage is a commitment to action.

Typical Questions

  • What and when are you going to do the action?
  • To what extent does this meet all your goals?
  • What are your indicator and measurements for success?
  • When do you start and finish each action step?
  • What could hinder you in taking these steps or meeting the goal?
  • What support do you need, from whom?
  • What will you do to obtain that support and when?
  • What can I do to support you?
  • What employee resistance do you have?
  • How will you eliminate these external and internal factors?

This model is not linear – you may find that you go back and forth between the stages e.g. you may only be able to define a vague objective until you have examined the reality in more detail. You may then need to move back and define the goal much more precisely before moving forward again. When listing the alternatives it will be necessary to check back to see if each of them, would in fact, move you towards your goal. Finally, before the ‘what and when’ are set in concrete, it is crucial to make a final review and check to see if it meets the goal.


  • Coaching For Performance: Growing People, Performance and Purpose, John Whitmore
  • Developing People Through Effective Workplace Coaching – University Of Leeds
  • Coaching – The Grow Model – Learning To Live, Living To Learn
  • Mentoring Tool- GROW Model- future of London
  • The Grow Model Of Coaching –
  • Using the GROW Model – Certificate in Management, Keith Mattacks, Birkbeck College

How CBIS can help you

Please contact us if you need more details on how our expert team can assist you with training and applying the GROW model for coaching your team.

01 Jul 2021

Attending our Public classroom physically or joining the team virtually from anywhere, according to the training calendar.

A flexible self-paced training for busy people along with our support by a dedicated coach, to solve the disadvantage of one-way online training

Delivering flexible and tailored training for your team and at your premises as a cost-effective solution for your team.

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