Career Coaching Tips and Techniques: Coaching Using the GROW Model

By | April 25, 2019

[April 25, 2019] Coaching Using the GROW Model

The GROW model is a tool which can be used in many different coaching scenarios and is an effective technique often employed by both new and experienced career coaches. However, the successful application of the tool depends on several contributory factors, including effective questioning techniques and dynamic, flexible use of its key features. It offers a solid foundation which new coaches can base early sessions upon, but can also be viewed as a framework around which future tools, techniques and approaches can be developed.

How Does the GROW Model Work?

The GROW model was popularised by John Whitmore in his 1992 book Coaching for Performance and is still widely used today. GROW is an acronym based on the following key coaching phases of the technique:

  • Goals – Establishing the client’s ultimate “goals” and aims.
  • Reality – Taking time to really explore the client’s current “reality” or situation before discussing or taking any pro-active steps.
  • Options – What are the “options” or courses of action available to the client.
  • Will – What agreed action “will” be taken by the client to move towards the stated goal.

Coaching Tips for the GROW Model

It is very important however to note that the GROW model does not exist in a vacuum and must be conducted using the correct questioning techniques to encourage a deeper awareness and ownership of issues. Goals and current realities must be fully explored. As Whitmore puts it:

Whitmore provides a list of questions in his book which can be employed throughout coaching sessions, however, it is essential that these are used as a guide and drawn upon at the appropriate time otherwise the sessions could become formulaic and stilted. The Mentoring for Change website cited in the sources section below makes reference to coaching questioning techniques together with a host of other coaching resources.

Coaching With GROW

The Mentoring for Change website describes the GROW model as an effective means for the coach to find his/her way when “lost” in a coaching session – here GROW is seen as a framework to be pulled out of the coaching toolbox when things need to be re-oriented. In Teach Yourself Coaching (2005), Vickers and Bavister point out that the model offers a “good starting point….but when followed slavishly may become a strait-jacket” limiting a coach’s versatility and flexibility.

Thus, it is advisable for coaches to employ the tool as is appropriate to the session; for instance, many clients approach their initial coaching sessions without any clear goals in mind and so some exploration of the current situation is often required before arriving at any stated aims to work towards. Here the first two principles of the GROW model become reversed.

On balance it would appear that GROW is indeed a useful coaching tool but that it should be used as a starting point and not a coaching panacea. The model provides a valuable and clear pathway which can help both coach and client to locate their position within the coaching process but this must be navigated using the right techniques, allowing the coach to illuminate and animate the process as appropriate to each individual client.

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Author: John Whitfield

Hi, my name is John Whitfield. I'm a professional essay help online ( writer and I like to write articles on different subjects. My hobby is traveling and I was in many countries. Most of the time I'm writing for students from different universities. Helping them I feel some proud of making their lives a bit easier. From time to time I write articles for different magazines and for my personal blog. They are about traveling, a proper way of life and deep philosophical dilemmas. I don't know if I will keep doing this, but it needs to be something connected with writing.

11 thoughts on “Career Coaching Tips and Techniques: Coaching Using the GROW Model

  1. Eric Coda

    A well-written article on the basics of the GROW model. Loved it. Your work is really good. Thanks also for working with students.

    1. Maureen S. Sullivan

      Agreed, “The Kid” but I think John’s article is better.

    2. Nick Lighthouse

      Yes, The GROW Model is a simple yet powerful framework for structuring your coaching or mentoring sessions.

  2. Lynn Pitts

    Good explanation for this leader model. Thanks, John.

    1. Willie Shrumburger

      Correct, Lynn. But as Mr. Whitfield notes, the GROW model is not the panacea for coaching since there is much more that must be done. For example, a coach must be able to “connect” with others at the most basic social level. Otherwise, no model will work.

  3. Bill Sanders, Jr.

    I’d heard of the GROW model before but thanks for clearing up a few things I was confused about. Leaders should consider any tool that makes it a little easier to do their jobs.

    1. Gil Johnson

      Yep! I agree. John has put together an article worthy of publication here at Gen. Satterfield’s leadership blog. I’ll be forwarding this article to one of my co-workers who has been looking at different methods to improve his ability to work with teams.

    2. Anita

      In its traditional application, the GROW Model assumes that the coach is not an expert in the client’s situation. This means that the coach must act as a facilitator, helping the client select the best options, and not offering advice or direction.

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