The GROW Coaching Model

The GROW model is one of a handful of coaching tools designed for problem solving that many professional coaches use to help clients identify and reach their goals. This model was created during the late 1980s by Alan Fine, John Whitmore and Graham Alexander and quickly became a key component of executive coaching training throughout the late 20th century. Many other models and processes have emerged in recent years as trainers attempted to separate themselves from the competition by reinventing the wheel, but many coaches prefer to stick to this approach because it simplifies the coaching process.


The first step of the GROW coaching process revolves around helping clients clearly identify their aspirations in such a way that they know precisely what success will look like when they reach it. Many clients have a general idea of what they are looking for in their personal and professional lives but have not taken an organized approach to outlining their goals. By asking probing questions about what your clients seek to achieve out of coaching, you are setting the stage for allowing them to create their own road map to success.

Current Reality

The next step of the GROW model is centered around coaching your clients to have a frank look at where they are right now compared to where they want to be when they have reached their goals. The Current Reality stage often requires coaches to pose difficult questions to their clients in order for them to identify how their own behavior may been holding them back. At the end of this stage, both the coach and the client should have a crystal clear picture of both a client’s goals as well as their current circumstances.

Obstacles and Options

With a client’s goals and current reality clearly outlined, the rest of the GROW model is focused on navigating from Point A to Point B. This requires coaches to ask the right line of probing questions to identify what is currently standing in the way of reaching success. A solid set of listening skills is required during this process, as many clients have a fairly muddled picture of what may be holding them back.

After you have identified the obstacles that a client is facing, it is time to help him or her figure out what options are available for moving forward. Be careful not to make the mistake of trying to tell your clients what to do during this stage. Instead, focus on using questions that lead them toward identifying the options, skills and resources that they have at their disposal on their own.

Way Forward

Finally, the GROW model comes to a close with asking what a client is going to do within the next few weeks in order to start moving forward. This stage tends to be easier than the other steps of the GROW model; just be sure that both you and your client have settled on clear plan of action by the end of each coaching session.



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