- Adopt the four-stage questions-based model to help individuals and teams to design their own solutions.
- Use the model as a framework for gathering and assessing the goals, challenges, options and potential solutions without offering specific advice.
- Document both long and short-term goals and determine the best way forward to achieve these goals.
- Identify the options available and the actions required to achieve the goals.
The grow model was designed in the 1980s by performance coach, Sir John Whitmore. It is a simple yet highly effective tool that can be used when coaching members of your team. The model is questions-based and is designed to help the person you are coaching to think through things for themselves and to be solution-driven. It helps to empower and motivate them to move forward in the achievement of their goals.
GROW stands for:
- Current Reality
- Options and Obstacles
- Will or Way forward.[wlm_ismember]
How it works
To understand how it works, think about this simple example. Imagine you are planning a holiday. You would follow these four steps:
- Step 1 – Decide when and where you are going. This is the goal.
- Step 2 – Establish what your current reality is. Do you have enough funds? Is the destination possible? Do you have the time?
- Step 3 – Once the current reality is defined, you can think about the options and obstacles. What are the options to get there? How can you ensure you have enough funds? What might stand in the way?
- Step 4 – Establish the way forward. What actions will you take to make the trip a reality? What preparation can you do to overcome any potential obstacles? How will you keep yourself motivated?
How to use the tool
One of the advantages of the GROW model is that you do not have to be an expert in the person’s specific challenge or situation. The model offers a framework for you to draw out goals, challenges, options and potential solutions without having to offer specific advice. As the coach you are the facilitator and are there to help the person draw their own conclusions. The person is more likely to be more motivated and driven to act on their own solutions, which is one of the reasons why the model is so effective.
Step 1 – Establish the goal
The first step is to establish the goal. It may be a long-term goal that will be worked on over a number of sessions, as it needs to be broken down into smaller sub-goals or actions. Or, it may be a simple goal where the actions required for achieving it can be determined in just one coaching session.
As outlined in a number of our goal setting articles, to be effective a goal needs to be “SMART”; that is, it needs to be specific, measureable, attainable, realistic and time bound. The clearer and more defined the goal, the better the chance of achieving it. You might find that the person needs help defining a specific goal that stems from a vague desire to change a behaviour or situation.
Here is a selection of questions you can ask to help define both long-term and short-term goals:
- What do you want to achieve?
- What is important to you right now?
- What is your ultimate, long-term goal?
- What does success look like for you?
- How will you know when you have achieved your goal?
- What areas or issues do you want to work on?
- What would you like to get out of this/these session/s?
- How will you know when this problem has been solved?
- What will reaching the goal give you?
- How do you define your perfect world?
- What will make you feel that the time spent here will be worthwhile?
- What does your future look like in (time frame)?
- How does this goal fit with your long-term plans and goals?
- When do you want to achieve this goal?
Step 2 – Determine the current reality
Next, it is important to establish a starting point, or a baseline to build on. Your role is to help the person to self-evaluate and to identify what has been holding them back in the past. This is an important step in the process, as often people will move forward without fully understanding their current situation and then find vital information has been missed. Frequently, you will find solutions and options start to present themselves as the current situation is explored.
This stage might be confronting for some people, as the reality of the current situation may be worse than they thought or wanted to believe. It is important not to dwell on what has happened in the past, but to use these past experiences as a means to gather valuable information on patterns of behaviour and to identify potential obstacles.
Following are some of the questions that we find are useful during this stage:
- What is happening to you now? (Expand with when, with whom and how often.)
- Where are you now with the goal?
- Have you taken any steps towards your goal?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how close do you feel you are to achieving the goal?
- What has contributed to your success so far?
- What is working well?
- What is holding you back?
- What can you control?
- Does this conflict with other things you are doing?
- What has been going wrong?
- Why do you feel this issue/behaviour is a problem?
- What do you need to change?
- What progress have you made?
- Can you give some examples of situations where this issue was a problem?
- Is there something that you feel you could have done?
Step 3 – Explore the options
Now is the time to start brainstorming all of the possible options for achieving the goal. It is important to explore all of the possible options, to start with a broad menu and then narrow it down to best ones after discussing each in turn. You may be able to offer some suggestions, but essentially you want the person to come up with as many as possible.
Use this step to guide the person and to help them find direction without making decisions for them. During this process it is also important to think about what might stand in the way and what obstacles might be encountered. These need to be considered carefully and potential solutions found to minimise the affect they may have on the person’s ability to achieve the goal.
Questions that can help during this phase of the model include:
- What are your options?
- What else could you do?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of each option?
- What do you need to start doing in order to achieve this goal?
- What do you need to stop doing in order to achieve this goal?
- What obstacles might stand in your way?
- What can you do to remove the obstacles?
- How have you dealt with a similar situation in the past?
- What could you do differently this time?
- Which option feels right for you?
- If anything was possible, what would you do?
- If this constraint was removed, would it change things?
- Imagine you have achieved your goal. How did you do it?
Step 4 – Establish the will or way forward
The last step in the model is to formulate an action plan once you have decided on the best option. This step determines how the goal is going to be achieved. It is important that the person commits to specific actions in order to move towards the goal. Usually at this point a follow-up session is organised and this will then create a time frame and deadline for these actions to be completed. With a clear plan the person’s motivation is increased and the chance of successfully achieving the goal is vastly increased.
The following questions will help to formulate a clear plan of action:
- Which option will work best for you?
- What is the next step?
- What actions will you take?
- When will you do this?
- How will you keep yourself motivated?
- What could get in the way?
- How will you deal with this?
- When are you going to start?
- How will you keep yourself accountable?
- How often do you need to review your progress?
- How will you know when you have been successful?
- Who can help you and support you?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how committed are you to taking these actions?
- What can you do to move closer to a 10?
- What is the first thing you can do?
- What can you do today to start moving forward?
- Will this plan achieve your goal?
Using the model
The GROW model is a proven tool that is widely used for coaching individuals. We find that while it is highly effective for this purpose, it has uses beyond just coaching. We use the GROW model extensively in personal planning, and have used it very effectively when working to lift the performance of teams. The key points remain the same: set the goal, determine the current reality, explore the options and then commit to a plan and way forward.[/wlm_ismember]
[wlm_nonmember]Would you like to see the whole article?
Would you like to start driving positive changes in your business? Would you like to see increased productivity and profitability? Of course you would!
As part of our commitment to being a low cost yet highly effective service to help owners and managers of small to medium sized business, we are now offering the first month of your membership for just $1! This means you will get full access to all of the learning articles, tools and tips that our website has to offer and with a commitment to upload at least another 150 learning articles through 2015 there is also plenty more learning on the way. On top of this you will also receive our weekly newsletter to keep you updated on new learning for the week and much, much more!
You can cancel at any time, however, if you see the value in what we’re offering (and we’re sure you will!) your membership will automatically continue after your trial at the low cost of just $19.95 per month. So what are you waiting for? For just $1 you are getting full access to all of our content for 30 days risk-free, so come on and join our community today![/wlm_nonmember]
Success is giving it your Absolute Best!