Applying The GROW Model

Applying the GROW model in a variety of coaching situations is a great way of improving performance. It provides a useful structure which helps an individual or a team identify what they want to achieve (Goal), where they are now (Reality), what their options are (Options) and what action they will take (Wrap Up/ will/ Way Ahead).

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Since a part of the model is about exploring options and taking action it therefore lends itself to coaching scenarios where specific action is required to move the coachee forward. This contrasts with a coaching situation you may have where the focus is solely on helping the coachee gain clarity or insights, for example helping a client explore their values or beliefs, which do not necessitate the exploring of options or identifying specific actions.

When Applying The GROW Model Works

GROW need not be reserved for formal explicit one to one coaching sessions. The following are just examples of a wide range of scenarios where GROW (or elements of it) can be used to great effect.

Performance appraisals

Increasingly a coaching approach is taken to performance appraisals where, instead of ‘telling,’ the appraiser helps the appraisee come up with their own answers: goals for an individual can be agreed, their current skills, knowledge and attitude explored, options for development discussed and specific action identified. Whilst there may be no negotiation about what has to be achieved, there is usually enormous benefit in the appraisee identifying how they will achieve their objectives and gaining commitment to action.


GROW provides a useful model for bringing focus into meetings not only to ensure the meeting is kept on track and leads to meaningful conclusion but through a coaching approach provides a vehicle to involve and secure the commitment of participants throughout the process. This can be adapted accordingly so if the ‘why are we here’ is not negotiable then the focus can be on involving the participants during the other stages.

Helping friends and family

Often we get approached for advice from friends and family to help them solve their problems, only to feel that our suggestions are not right and will be discarded anyway. By coaching applying the GROW model we can offer an alternative approach which is far more likely to be received positively.

Just by asking ‘what do you really want here?’ or ‘what is important to you right now?’ (Goal) can help clarify what your friend really wants. And then asking questions to help them understand what the real situation is, what their options are and what option they want to take will help bolster their confidence and identify a solution which is right for them. Your non-advising non-judgemental approach will be recognised and appreciated.

Further Reading:

Coaching for Performance, 4th Edition: GROWing Human Potential and Purpose (People Skills for Professionals) by Sir John Whitmore (Paperback - 12 Mar 2002)

Effective Coaching: Lessons from the Coach's Coach by Myles Downey (Paperback - 15 Nov 2003)

Co-Active Coaching, 2nd Edition: New Skills for Coaching People Toward Success in Work and, Life by Laura Whitworth, (Paperback - 15 Feb 2007)

See Also:-

GROW Coaching Model
GROW Coaching Questions
Effective Coaching Models
TGROW Coaching Model
Implicit/Explicit Coaching

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