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Using the GROW Model to Coach Employees

GROW ModelThe GROW Model is a method for setting goals and managing performance of employees. It is a simple process to use and has been proven quite effective. At Abudi Consulting Group we use it in coaching with our clients. The GROW Model was developed in the United Kingdom in the 1980s by Sir John Whitmore. Since there a number of other coaches has contributed to the model, including Graham Alexander and Alan Fine. It has been described in a number of books on coaching, including by Max Landsberg in his book The TAO of Coaching. (

GROW is an acronym for:

  • Goal: establishing a goal with the employee; what do they want to achieve
  • Current Reality: enabling the employee to gain awareness of their current situation (how far are they from reaching their goal)
  • Options: collaborating with employee to determine steps to achieve the goal
  • Will (or Way Forward): ensuring commitment and collaborating with the employee to develop the action plan to move forward to achieve the goal

The key to using the GROW Model is to ask employees the right questions at the right time to enable them to structure their own coaching session. It entails having a conversation with the employee that enables them to see the best way to move forward in achieving their goals, and to be realistic about those goals. The goal is to ask questions that provide the employee time to think, reflect and plan.
Examples of questions that may be asked in each stage of the GROW model to enable for employees to reflect and plan their development include:

  • What are your personal and professional goals?
  • Where would you like to be in a year, 3 years, 5 years or longer?


  • Why do you think you have not yet achieved your goals? What is hindering you from achieving your goal?
  • What steps have you taken so far toward achieving your goals?


  • What options may you have for achieving your goals?
  • What might be the best first step toward achieving your goal?


  • How you will keep yourself motivated to achieve your goal?
  • What 2 or 3 actions can you take in the next week toward achieving your goal?

By asking a variety of questions during various stages of the coaching process, the leader will better engage the employee in professional development planning. This model is a great way to have the individual being coached to take responsibility for achieving their goals, by helping them to develop a realistic plan to achieve those goals.

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