The GROW Model has been seen to yield higher productivity, improved communication, better interpersonal relationships and a better quality working environment.[1]

In this week’s blog, we discuss one of the most respected and successful performance coaching models. I’m referring here to the GROW Model created by Alexander Graham, Sir John Whitmore and colleagues. In the video excerpt below, you witness the powerful aha moment when the coachee realizes that she has the power to change things. It’s a beautiful transformation from feeling powerless to BEING POWERFUL!

Here are the steps to this simple and effective model that has stood the test and proven its value over the years…

  1. Goal

You’ve probably heard the adage if you don’t know where you’re going, any road can get you there? Well, perhaps that sentiment informed the decision to start this tried and proven approach to structuring a coaching conversation. It is absolutely essential to devote the necessary time and energy to collaboratively identify and agree on the desired results  both of the specific coaching conversation and the broader coaching relationship.

The supervisor/manager/coach needs to lead this discussion. In the context of a performance coaching conversation, both parties need to reach consensus on the goal since it will form the basis for assessing the level of progress and ultimately success. It is also important to ensure that the goal aligns with the broader departmental/organizational objectives.

When we begin with the end in mind and clarify expectations, it significantly reduces the likelihood of unexpected surprises further down the road.

  1. Reality

In this second stage of the process, the coach and coachee discuss and agree on what currently obtains  i.e. they identify and discuss the status quo. In the case of a performance assessment, the discussion would cover how the employee is currently performing relative to established standards. In addition to examining the status quo vis a vis performance, this is also the time when the coach should explore issues such as the employees beliefs about the job and his/her performance along with any concerns, challenges or constraints being experienced.

  1. Opportunity

Having established the goal and ascertained the current realities, the next step in the process is to identify possible options for moving forward.

This can be compared to a brainstorming phase where the parties identify the various avenues for moving forward in pursuit of the goal established in the first step of the process.

It is important that this phase be as expansive and exhaustive as possible  exploring the pros and cons of the various courses of action along with decision criteria for making the final selection.

It is absolutely essential that both the coach and the coaches continually refer to the goal established in Step 1 in order to secure alignment.

Yet another variable that should be included in this step of the process is a candid discussion about the coaches feelings about the various options. This is geared towards safeguarding against the selection of an opportunity which is completely unpalatable to the employee.

  1. Way Forward

In this final stage of the process, the coach must secure a firm commitment on the way forward. The output from this stage is a plan of action including the identification of possible obstacles as well as risk mitigation factors and an agreement on the process for follow-up, monitoring and evaluation. Key to the process as well is a clear understanding and assignment of responsibilities along with associated timelines.

Prior to concluding the coaching conversation, supervisors/managers/coaches are strongly encouraged to check for the coachee’s level of commitment to the plan of action. One way in which this can be done is by inviting the coachees to use a rating scale to articulate their level of commitment. In the event that the commitment level is not as expected, then the conversation should turn to how the supervisor/manager/organization can support the employee in increasing the rating.

Additional Considerations

There are a few additional pointers which we would like to share to assist our readers in effectively utilizing the GROW Model. A coach’s toolkit is simply incomplete without the following three skills

  • Skillful use of powerful questions : Powerful questions are open-ended, generative and non-judgmental;
  • Active listening : listening to understand and not just to answer or challenge; listening from a place of curiosity; listening not just with ears but with eyes and heart to discover underlying meaning and intent; and
  • Flexibility: while we have presented the model in a linear manner, it is important to note that the process may need to be iterative in order to derive optimal benefit.


For additional articles on how you can leverage performance coaching  either for enhancing your own performance or that of your staff. check out

If you would like to learn more or would like to explore the possibility of procuring coaching services, we invite you to submit a request for a complimentary exploratory consultation. One of our UTDS associates will contact you within 24 hours of receipt of your request.

[1] [Accessed January 31st, 2017]

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