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  • Writer's pictureCSA Content Partner

What is the Grow Model of Coaching and How to Implement it

With coaching becoming a highly sought-after vocation, many tips and tricks have been developed to help coaches along on their journey. While some are naturally gifted with the skills and abilities to be a coach, some have to put in extra hours and extreme hard work to be able to achieve it. Developing the complete skill and knowledge set to become a successful coach can look like a pretty daunting task but armed with tried and tested techniques as well as practice and strong intuition, this task can be as easy as ABC. To help such coaches and even, managers and leaders who also double as coaches on their journey, the GROW model was developed.

What is the GROW model?

Originally developed in the 1980s by a trio of business coaches Graham Alexander, Alan Fine, and Sir John Whitmore, GROW model serves as a framework that lists all the integral elements of a good coaching session. The model was disseminated to the public through Sir Whitmore’s book ‘Coaching for Performance’, a highly recommended book for both professional and experienced coaches. GROW stands for

Goal: What do you want?

Reality: Where are you at present?

Options: What all can you do?

Will: What all will you do?

The biggest advantage of the GROW model is that it is extremely results-oriented, hence making it a key to success for both the coach and the coachee. Not just a tool loved by the entire coaching community, this model also serves as a top leadership tool that helps empower people regardless of culture or discipline. GROW model has a proven successful track record with people across the globe and helps both individuals and teams achieve the results they want.

The GROW model is simple enough both in theory and practical. Think of the steps in the GROW model as planning a journey or a trip. You would first decide where you’re going and where you currently are. Then, you’d plan your trip according to how many different ways you can take to get there and finally, narrow it down by deciding the path you will choose hence, making the decision of going on the trip. Even for coaching, the model follows the same simple steps.


The first step of the GROW model is establishing the Goal. Along with the person you are coaching, make sure you establish an achievable goal to work towards during the sessions. Having a goal for every session ensures that your client gets what they want and expect from every session. When setting a goal, make use of the SMART goal setting principles. SMART stands for






Here are some questions that can help set the goal the client would like to achieve:

  • What could we achieve in this session that would make you extremely happy?

  • Specifically, what would you like to get out of the next 30 (or so) minutes?

  • If we were to consider this session a success, what end result would you like to have achieved from it?


You cannot reach a place without knowing where you are currently. To achieve a goal, you need to know where you are at present and then figure out how the present situation can be improved. This is the point where you discuss, question, reflect and come to a conclusion as to why a client is in the current situation that they are in and how they got there. This part should be discussed well before going into the emotions, feelings and thoughts of the client as the Reality should be talked about rationally. Exploring the reality will also help raise the client’s self-awareness and can also give you important insights into the client’s thought processes including habits, limiting beliefs and priorities. In most professional and successful coaching, establishing the Reality takes up most of the time in a session as it is considered a priority.

Here are some questions to ask to help establish the reality:

  • What is your intuition telling you about this situation and how do you think you should go about solving this issue?

  • What do you like about this situation?

  • How does a day in your life look like regarding this situation or issue?


The main reason why people decide to for coaching is so that they can get options and opinions on how to solve their problems; if they could have done it on their own, they wouldn’t need your help. Often, brainstorming and discussions can lead to a plethora of ideas that the client can choose from to help solve their crisis. Providing options does not always need new, innovative and creative methods, it can also often involve tweaking an existing plan of action or helping you client maximize the effect of a pre-existing action.

While exploring Options after establishing Reality seems like the ideal plan of action, oftentimes some unexplored realities open up when brainstorming Options. Since all these steps go hand in hand, do not avoid going back and forth between the steps. Be flexible and trust your intuition; do what you think is best for your client and keep all efforts focused on achieving the expected Goal.

Here are a few questions to ask so that your client can explore diverse Options

  • Imagine that you can never fail in whatever you want to do. What would you do then?

  • What hasn’t worked in your favor so far?

  • If your best friend is going through the same situation, what would your advice to them be?


“Where there is a Will, there is a Way”. Only when the client takes some kind of action or a step towards the right direction, can we call the coaching successful. Coaching is always aimed at facilitating change, growth and action from a client and the Will brings to the light all the possibilities the client can undertake to bring about the change in themselves. Get your client to commit to the plan of action and make sure that they follow through with it because, at the end of the day, all your efforts would have been in vain if the client themselves does not follow through with the action.

Here are some questions you could ask to make sure that your client Will take the necessary action

  • What could you be the first step you do to meeting your goal

  • What could possibly get in the way of you completing these actions

  • How would you be able to prove that this action is done and dusted

  • How will you stay committed to the goal if something unexpected comes up?

The GROW model is not the be-all, end-all of every coaching session. Each client and each session with a client are different so there is absolutely no way that you can dedicate equal time to all 4 of these steps in all the sessions. The priority of each step in each session differs and so does the sequence of the steps. The key here is to be flexible and to let your intuition and gut feelings guide you. Although, a coaching essential, the GROW model just sets the framework for a successful coaching session; the success of the session itself depends on your capability as a coach and the willingness of your client.


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