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The GROW model of coaching

CMS Vocational Training Hadyn Luke posted this on Friday 1st of October 2021 Hadyn Luke 01/10/2021


The GROW model of coaching

As an organisational leader, you will have a stake in the development of your people, which means helping them to progress in their role.

One of the most successful frameworks for coaching employees is the GROW model of coaching. Whether or not you have training in coaching, you can use this model to help you design and structure sessions with your staff.

What does GROW stand for?

The acronym GROW stands for:



Options – or Obstacles

Will or Way forward

While they don’t have to be approached in order, these four elements can form a useful framework for coaching sessions.

Who came up with the GROW model of coaching?

The framework first appeared in the 1980s, when Sir John Whitmore, a leading figure in the field of coaching, worked with colleagues at Performance Consultants International to develop the concept. He explained the model in more detail in his book Coaching for Performance (1988).

How is the GROW model used?

The GROW framework can be used at management level, when coaching an individual member of staff, or in a group setting. Each element is discussed in detail, usually by posing questions, in order to take the person being coached on a journey from establishing their goals to achieving them.

Goal – establish what is important to the employee, what they want to achieve and what stands in their way. Find out where they see themselves in the future and the skills they need to develop to get there. Ideally the goal will be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely).

Reality – ask what they are passionate about and what they fear. Find out what works well for them and where they need help or face obstacles. Encourage them to describe the current situation in an objective manner and to be honest and realistic.

Options – the brainstorming stage where they evaluate the options. Look at their first steps and how they can best use their time. Ask what they would do if money, confidence and other people did not exist as obstacles.

Will – ask about their motivation and commitment. What do they need to think about ahead of setting off towards their goal? What could stop them achieving it and what can they do to overcome any barriers they face? Make sure they are prepared to tackle obstacles as they arise.

What are the benefits of using the GROW model?

By asking the right questions, a manager can support their employees’ progress within an organisation and help them to gain a better insight into their potential growth and development. This will benefit both the individual and the organisation as a whole.

The key to this model is that it takes the person being coached through a clear process, step by step. Not only will it improve their understanding of where they want to be, but it will also help them to look at the options, find solutions and motivate themselves to act in order to achieve their goals.

The manager does not have to be a qualified coach; there are guidelines and templates for the GROW model available online.

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