Placeholder Image

Contact Us

Form submitted successfully!

Home » Blog » GROW Model of Coaching

What is the GROW Model?

The GROW Model is probably the most widely-utilised goal-setting and problem-solving model in the UK, perhaps the world. It provides a simple and methodical.Yet, it is a powerful framework of four main stages of a coaching or mentoring session. Though no one can claim to be the sole inventor of the model, thought-leaders and writers Alan Fine and Graham Alexander, along with former racing car champion John Whitmore made significant contributions to the contemporary model, which was largely developed during the 1980s and 1990s.

The GROW coaching model is a tried and tested coaching model to structure coaching sessions.

The power of the GROW coaching model is that it leads to a clearly defined end result through four phases. The coachee is personally active in identifying problems and generating ideas for solutions. This means that anything that comes out of the coaching session has a lot of chances to stick.

The GROW coaching model stands for learning through experience: reflection, insight, making choices and pursuing them. The success of a coaching trajectory with the GROW coaching model also depends on the time and energy invested into the process by the client.

Meaning of G-R-O-W Acronym 

The acronym GROW stands for:

  • Goal
  • Reality
  • Opportunity
  • Will

These four words and phrases correspond to the four main stages of a coaching or mentoring session. This model takes goal setting to a higher level. Well set goals are inspirational and challenging. When reaching for a broader goal perspective with this approach, leaders are more productive, self-motivated, and fulfilled.

The 4 Steps in the GROW Coaching Model


During the first stage of the process, the goal is the priority. Once a topic for discussion is agreed, specific outcomes and objectives should be discussed by the coach/mentor and the client/mentee/pupil. These may be short term goals, or – when appropriate, and a clear path to the outcome can be agreed – they may be long term aims. Goals should be SMART : Specific, Measurable, Accurate, Realistic and Timely. The goal should also be inspirational and positive, whilst being challenging and requiring them to stretch themselves and their abilities to achieve it.

Questions to be asked at this step-

  • What would you like to focus on today?
  • What’s important to you at the moment?
  • What does your ideal future look like?
  • What will you be doing in five years?
  • What new skills do you want to learn or develop?
  • Where is your life out of balance?
  • What challenges are you facing at the moment?


During the second stage of the process, both coach and mentee outline and discuss the current reality of the situation using a variety of different methods and techniques. The coach may invite the client to assess their own situation before offering advice or specific feedback on the current scenario and obstacles faced. The focus should be on the client, and the coach should be looking to identify potential in the situation, rather than problems. They should examine any assumptions made by the client with regards to their reality and outlook on future goals and discard any history or events that are irrelevant to the goals at hand.

Questions to be asked at this step-

  • What is working well at the moment?
  • What do you need?
  • What excuses have you always used for not achieving your goals?
  • What have you done so far to improve things?
  • What parts of your life will be impacted by you achieving your goal?
  • What is the biggest obstacle you are currently facing?
  • What does self-sabotage look like for you?


Once reality and all obstacles to current goals have been discussed, and irrelevant ‘pseudo-obstacles’ discarded, the options as to how to overcome current issues preventing progress should be examined. At first, the full range of options should be put-forward and discussed, predominantly inviting suggestions from the client. Any suggestions posited by the coach or mentor should be offered carefully and with consideration of the client’s overall position. By the end of stage 3, the coach should ensure that at least some choices have been made with regards to overcoming obstacles, and there is significantly less ambiguity surrounding immediate actions.

Questions to be asked at this step-

  • What is your first step?
  • If success was guaranteed, what would you do?
  • If money was not an obstacle, what would you do?
  • What action step is the best use of your time at this moment?
  • If someone else came to you with your obstacle, what would you tell them?
  • What would you do if you answered to no one?


The final stage of the process is when the client commits to decisive actions in order to move towards their goal. A plan is drawn up, with the coach guiding the ideas discussed by the mentee – including specific guidelines and timings in order to make achievable progress. Any potential obstacles that may be encountered during the process are identified and subsequent solutions are considered, including an outline of the support required throughout. Both mentor and mentee should remain flexible throughout the entire process and goals/actions may need to be altered to react to both positive or negative events.

Questions to be asked at this step-

  • How committed are you to achieving this goal?
  • How do you want to be held accountable for this goal?
  • How will you celebrate when you’ve achieved your goal?
  • What are you going to do in the next 24 hours?
  • What will you do when you’ve achieved your goal?
  • Who do you need to include in your journey to that goal?
  • What else do you need to consider before starting?

Finding clarity around a goal allows for the structure of GROW to begin with what matters first. This type of clarity helps an individual or a group to envision the steps required for forward movement. This structure opens people up to broader goals and enables them to find a personal connection to that goal. 

This is just a very basic outline of what the GROW coaching model consists of. As you can see, this is not enough for a full coaching trajectory. A coach also needs his listening skills and rapport making skills. On top of that, other coaching tools make this approach less rational and allow for creativity and contact with the subconscious.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Grow Model?

The GROW Model is the most commonly used goal-setting and problem-solving model in the United Kingdom, if not the entire world. It offers a straightforward and systematic approach. Nonetheless, it is a powerful structure for a coaching or mentoring session, consisting of four key levels.

How many steps does the Grow Model of coaching entail?

The GROW Model of coaching is a four-step method for organising mentoring and coaching opportunities with members of the team.

What is the approach behind GROW Coaching Model?

The GROW coaching model emphasises learning by experience, including reflection, perspective, decision-making, and action. The client’s time and energy spent in the process determines the effectiveness of a coaching trajectory using the GROW coaching model.

What does Grow Coaching mean?

GROW Coaching is an acronym that stands Goal – Reality – Options – Will.

What is the end result of the Grow coaching model?

The GROW coaching model’s strength is that it follows a four-phase process that leads to a clearly specified end result. The coachee takes an active role in finding issues and coming up with solutions. This ensures that whatever is said during the coaching session has a fair chance of staying.