GROW Coaching Model

Probably the most widely known and used model is the GROW coaching model, originally identified by Sir John Whitmore, which is introduced in many coach training programmes and mentioned in many coaching books.

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GROW represents four stages in the coaching conversation:

  • Goal
  • Reality
  • Options
  • Wrap Up

These four stages are explained in more detail below. See also GROW Coaching Questions which give examples of some of the questions you might ask at each stage.


At the outset of any coaching conversation it makes sense to establish what the coachee wants to achieve. Just as successful people set goals for their work and personal life, establishing goals at the outset of the coaching session helps to give the session a sense of purpose ensuring it becomes a meaningful conversation rather than an aimless chat.

At this stage a goal might reflect the bigger picture of what the coachee is aiming to achieve from coaching e.g. grow their business, get fitter, lose weight and also what the coachee specifically wants from the session itself e.g. identify a strategy or specific actions for moving forward or identifying options.


Once you have established what your coachee is aiming to achieve the next stage is about where they are in relation to their goal. i.e. what progress have they made towards their goal?; what are their current skills, knowledge and attributes?; what is the reality of what is expected of them? This is a real opportunity to really help your coachee build awareness of their current strengths and develop confidence …what are they doing already that they can build on, what skills do they possess which will stand them in good stead for the future?

At this point scaling techniques are a useful way of helping to measure progress.


This stage of the GROW coaching model is about helping your coachee explore the options available to them. It is all too easy for your coachee to take the first idea they think of and them move on to wrapping up the session. However your skill as a coach is in really helping your client to think outside the box, be creative and explore extensively until you are both satisfied no stone has been left unturned and they have a solution they are committed to. For example what has worked in the past? How do others do it? What would they do if anything was possible? What are the relative merits of each option?

Wrap Up (or Way Forward / Will)

Here you are bringing the session to a close. Once your coachee has explored different options for moving forward they are in a better position to select the most appropriate and commit to specific action. As a coach you will be helping to clarify the commitment of your coachee to their action and ensuring the coachee has an awareness of what they will now do, when, where and who might help them.

Again scaling techniques are useful to help ascertain commitment and motivation.

The GROW Coaching Model Need Not Be Linear

Whilst I have described the GROW coaching model as a linear process you can revisit any of the stages during the process depending on the needs of the client. For example after exploration of Reality you may find your coachee wants to readjust their Goal or having checked their commitment to an action may find that more Options need to be explored first.

The thing to remember is that GROW provides a useful framework however, to be effective you need to understand what your coachee’s needs are at any particular point in the coaching conversation. So be flexible enough to take them to the stage that most needs their needs, and there may be times using just part of the model is appropriate.

For more on the GROW coaching model see GROW-model-applications and GROW-coaching questions .

Further Reading:

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

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:-

Effective Coaching Models
Applying The GROW Model
GROW Coaching Questions
TGROW Coaching Model
OSKAR Coaching Model
CLEAR Coaching Model
Different Coaching Approaches

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