Mastering Executive Coaching and the GROW Model

GROW Model

The GROW Model for Improving Coaching Skills 

Any article on coaching would not be complete without reference to the most famous coaching model, the GROW model.  It was developed in the late eighties and quickly became the go-to tool for leadership coaching, upon the publication of Coaching for Performance by Sir John Whitmore in 1992.


It consists of four stages, based on each letter of the word, GROW:


GOAL – defined by the coachee 


The coach helps to:

  • Agree the topic for discussion
  • Agree specific objectives for each session
  • Set a long term aim if appropriate


REALITY – the coachee identifies the current state and how different it is to the goal 


The coach helps to:

  • Invite self-assessment
  • Offer specific examples of feedback
  • Discard irrelevant history


OPTIONS – the coachee develops some ideas to move towards their goals 


The coach helps to:

  • Invite suggestions from the coachee
  • Offer suggestions – carefully
  • Ensure choices are made


WILL – the coachee decides which 9options they are going to apply and when 


The coach helps to:

  • Identify possible obstacles
  • Make steps specific
  • Define timing
  • Agree support




The idea is to move through the model, asking the coachee different types of questions at each stage in order to help the individual move closer toward their goal.


How Does it Work in Coaching Skills? 


The coachee starts at Goal (G), where they define their initial outcomes and goals with the aid of coach questioning. They then move onto the next stage Reality (R), which requires the coachee to explore and describe their current state. The coach encourages the coachee by asking questions that encourage self-assessment and evaluation. The following stage Options (O), explores how the coachee can reach their goal, examining all possible options.


The coach invites suggestions, and uses supporting tools to make sure all options are fully explored.  The coach may offer suggestions, however carefully and sparingly, and only once the coachee has explored their own options/suggestions first, given that coaches encourage coachees to initially explore their own ideas and suggestions.


In the last stage Will (W), sometimes called ‘Way Forward’ or ‘Wrap Up’, the coachee is encouraged to commit to an option or specific action with the coach helping to support and motivate.


If you are interested in learning more about the above and having access to our bank of resources regarding the GROW model, please do not hesitate to contact us about our Mastering Executive Coaching course.