Coaching and the GROW model – Part 2

30 Apr

Following on from Part 1, in which we examined the Goals and Reality aspects of the GROW model, in this post we look at Options and Will.


Both of these truisms help illustrate the importance of options in coaching. You need to assist the other person in coming up with alternatives – different possible courses of action that can move them forward towards their goal.

Increasing choice is a key principle in coaching, so you have to help create the environment where this can happen. Choice often evolves from a creative environment so here are some Dos and Don’ts that might help.


  • Use brainstorming to help the other person come up with new ideas.
  • Ask questions, such as ‘What else can you do?’
  • Expand the coachee’s thinking with your questions: for example, ‘What if you could start again?’, ‘What if money was no object?’, ‘If you already had X, what would then be possible?’, ‘How would your hero or heroine tackle it?’
  • Suspend judgement of the options until you have them all out – often one seemingly unlikely option can give rise to a very practical but creative thought!
  • Feel able to offer suggestions as well, but make sure you ask permission first and help the coachee come up with as many options as possible before you offer yours.


  • Settle for one or two options – these are not likely to be the most creative.
  • Offer your suggestions until the coachee has come up with as many as they can.
  • Once you have elicited the options, you can then encourage the coachee to start evaluating them and thinking about which would be the best to progress with. 


This final stage of GROW is about a ‘call to action’. It’s about both making a decision and committing to action. Remember, these two things are different – decisions can be easy to make, but you need to ensure that action will be taken.

In this phase, you are helping the other person construct a clear plan of action. This needs to include specific dates and measures. Once you have this you need to probe for possible barriers – what could prevent these actions being taken and what is the other person going to do to overcome those barriers?

A lot of people have good intentions for action but can get sidetracked or waylaid by circumstances when they get back to their desks – email, telephone and any number of other priorities can stand in the way of action following a coaching session.

Finally, you need to probe for their motivation – how sure are they that they will take the actions? By being explicit at this stage you take away excuses and raise responsibility and accountability in the other person.

It is surprising how much activity coachee’s do just before a coaching session to complete the tasks they were set. The knowledge that those tasks will be scrutinised is itself a powerful motivator.

How can the GROW model be used? 

  • For coaching after a person has attended a training course to help embed learning and transfer it to the workplace
  • Before sales calls
  • At the end of an accompanied visit
  • As part of a telephone coaching session
  • During a performance management review
  • During a team meeting
  • As an initial coaching session or relationship meeting
  • In the ‘quick win’ coaching session.

Here are some key principles that underpin the GROW model.

  • Build rapport first
  • Be open and honest as the coach
  • Discuss the other person’s needs
  • Discuss your needs
  • Elicit needs rather than impose them.
  • Discuss how you can best work together
  • Work towards a win-win situation

Post courtesy of People Alchemy

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Posted by on April 30, 2012 in Coaching


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