Coaching - Henley Business School Finland
11 June 2019
Posted in by David Love

How can I use GROW to help my coaching clients?

Developed by Sir John Whitmore, Graham Alexander and Alan Fine, the GROW model was tested in organisational settings, where it produced business and individual benefits. Its origins are in behavioural thinking and it focuses on outcomes. While the GROW model is action-oriented, it also enhances learning.

The model comprises four phases, which are deployed flexibly by the coach. While the coach may use GROW to structure a session, the conversation may involve movement back and forth between phases to strengthen the outcomes. 

The four phases of GROW:

G – establishing the goal

The first phase involves you helping your coachee to establish the desired outcome of the coaching conversation. Your role is to help your coachee establish clarity about the purpose of the coaching conversation, taking account of the time you have available. Wider contextual factors will shape the goal, particularly in a workplace setting where the coaching effort will be focused on enhancing performance.

R – exploring the current reality

In the second phase you are encouraging your coachee to explore the current situation as it relates to their chosen topic. Often, busy people want to move to action quickly with a limited understanding of the issues involved. Here, you are helping your coachee to stand back and take time to reflect on all the ramifications of the situation.

O – generating options

As with the reality phase it is vital here that you create the space for your coachee to explore as many options for moving forward as possible so they have a range of alternatives from which to choose. Your role is to enable your coachee to expand their range of options, evaluate their potential and come to some well-substantiated conclusions about possible ways forward.

W – establishing ways forward and the will

The W phase involves you in helping your coachee to pinpoint specific options they will take forward as well as checking your coachee’s motivation to act.


The GROW model enables your coachee to act based on a deeper understanding of their topic and their options for addressing it.

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Alexander, G (2010) Behavioural coaching – the GROW model. In: J Passmore (ed) Excellence in Coaching – the Industry Guide. London: Kogan Page

Hawkins, P & Smith, N (2006) Coaching, Mentoring and Organisational Consultancy – Supervision and Development. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill

Quotes (2018) [Accessed 12 September 2018]

David Love

David Love is a visiting tutor and qualified executive coach. As Head of Leadership Development at OPM, he led the company’s coaching practice and related ILM qualification programmes. David is also a trained coach supervisor and provides organisational consultancy, focusing on the creation of coaching cultures.

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