The GROW coaching model is a framework known for its simplicity. It comprises four main components: Goal, Reality, Options and Will, which should be first introduced during initial conversations or sessions with clients, employees or even yourself. Simplicity, structure and effectiveness are top benefits of this model, which aims to collaboratively help others reach their goals and full potential.

By Mariah Flores

Originally published on

Looking to develop a coaching mindset?

You don’t need to be a coach to incorporate this trait into your life, whether professionally or personally. For instance, for those working as leaders and managers — roles where you’re often expected to aid in the development of your team — knowing how best to coach your team can lead to improved performance, productivity and even new ways of thinking or problem-solving.

According to the Institute of Coaching, other benefits of personal and organizational coaching include:

Becoming more self-reliant
More effective communication
Improved personal performance
Increased employee engagement
Motivating and empowering others to excel
Empowering others to take responsibility

“Managers should not underestimate the impact of coaching on their people as it frequently creates a fundamental shift in their approach to their work. For example, increased self-confidence enables employees to bring more of themselves into the workplace.”

If you’re unsure which coaching approach to take, try one of the most popular coaching models around: The GROW model.

The GROW Coaching Model
A simple framework, the GROW coaching model was created by Sir John Whitmore and colleagues in the 1980s and compares the coaching process to a journey, as noted by leadership development expert Sara Canaday.

“Essentially this model compares the coaching process with going on a journey. Deciding where you wanna go and understanding your starting point. Exploring different routes to your destination. And finally making a decision about the best path and getting started,” she says.

The GROW model is meant to be used in “conversations, meetings and everyday leadership to unlock potential and possibilities,” states Performance Consultants, a consulting service co-founded by Whitmore.

You can use this model to work on specific areas of improvement with your team (or self), like problem solving or goal setting. Additionally, this popular coaching model works across various disciplines and is well-liked due to its four simple steps, straightforward approach to structure, and ease of use — making it great for new coaches.

The Four Main Steps
“GROW coaching is a modality used to establish structure in a coaching session,” shares entrepreneur and professional matchmaker Bianca B. King, MBA.

“The model focuses on four key areas: Goals, Reality, Options and Will. This framework helps coaches keep their clients focused while assisting them with reaching desired outcomes in each interaction.”

As mentioned, GROW is an acronym, standing for the model’s main steps (goal, reality, options and will), all of which are further broken down below. King advises those utilizing this model to incorporate the following elements into their initial conversations with clients or teams:

Goal – Ensure the client selects a clear goal or outcome for the current session.
Reality – Then, examine where the client is in relationship to the goal and what’s happening in their lives. Is there a hindrance to completing the goal?
Options – Next, investigate ways or ideas the client can use to complete the goal.
Will – Last, identify the actions they will do to move forward to complete the goal.
It’s also important to remember that as a coach, your job is to inspire your client, employee or teammate to explore all their options and be motivated. As a coach, you’re “not there to solve the client’s problems or overcome their challenges, but to facilitate and help them select the best options.”

As the GROW journey continues, be sure to account for any roadblocks that may pop up along the way.

“And proactively come up with a plan to get around them,” says Canaday. “By removing any obstacles in the way, coaches can play an important role in accelerating the journey towards success.”

GROW Model Benefits
Simplicity and structure.

It’s what the GROW coaching model is known for — again, making it a useful coaching tool for beginners … busy leaders of large teams.

“Let’s face it, when you’re a busy manager, you want to use simple and effective tools when it comes to coaching, especially if you have a large team. The GROW Model is an efficient and effective way of helping your team to take ownership of stretching their abilities and developing their skills,” states chartered psychologist Dr. Gemma Leigh Roberts.

The collaborative model is so simple, because it only has those four key steps — adding structure — that it can even be completed in one session, says King.

She also acknowledges the confidence the model builds in people.

“As clients reach goals, it instills more confidence in themselves and the coaching process in general. Using this methodology can help clients accumulate wins and effectively support them in achieving their larger goals.”

“The GROW model can also help the client build more awareness around how they navigate the world and take more accountability for their actions, all while having the support of a coach,” she adds.

All in all, coaching is a key skill that many leaders (and individuals) can utilize to reach their full potential. And it’s also a learnable skill that can be applied to various aspects of work and life. If you’re looking to be a better coach, using the GROW model is a notable first endeavor.

Did we mention that leadership, as a whole, is a highly-sought after transferable skill by hiring managers? Developing a better coaching mindset could further aid in cultivating this valuable skill set.

Top Takeaways
The GROW coaching model is a framework that is known for its simplicity.
It was created by executive coaching pioneer Sir John Whitmore and colleagues in the 1980s.
The GROW model consists of four steps: Goal, Reality, Options and Will.
The role of a coach, when using this model, isn’t to solve your clients or teams’ problems, but rather to inspire exploration of options and build self-motivation.
The main benefits of this model are its simplicity, structure and effectiveness — all with relative ease.