Your clients deserve impactful results. That’s the bottom line, and likely why you became a coach in the first place.

But guiding them from their current situation to where they want to be doesn’t have to feel like an unending, uphill battle. One of the most powerful client transformation strategies is having a diverse set of readily available coaching tools. One simple, yet effective tool you can leverage is the GROW model.

The GROW model is a structured coaching framework that guides your clients from a state of confusion to a position of clarity and action.

No matter your niche, understanding and applying the GROW Model will increase client success rates without making things complicated for you or your client. Download the worksheet to reference as you continue reading the article. It’s free for Coach Factory VIP members.

Four Stages of the GROW Coaching Model Explained

The GROW model framework includes four foundational stages—Goals, Reality, Options, and Way Forward. Each stage is a stepping stone that leads the client from setting goals to actual commitment to specific actions. It’s a comprehensive journey that ensures the coaching process is effective, meaningful, and outcome-oriented.

1. Goal 

The GROW journey begins with setting a clear and precise goal. No matter the goal, you encourage your clients to define their ambitions. The goal should always be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Help your client avoid vague goals like “I want to be better at public speaking” or “I want to land my dream job.” Instead, guide them toward more refined goals like “I want to deliver a 10-minute speech without relying on notes in six months” or “I want to increase my income by 10% while working for a company that shares my values.” 

This stage is essential because it gives direction, sets expectations, and motivates the client throughout the journey.

2. Reality

The Reality phase is about assessing your client’s current state in relation to the set goal. It’s a reality check where clients reflect on their present situation, where they recognize their resources, strengths, and the challenges they might face. 

For example, clients who aim to change careers should evaluate their current skills, any gaps they need to fill, their financial stability, and the state of the job market. It’s an opportunity to encourage your clients to be honest and realistic about their circumstances.

This stage creates a grounded starting point for the journey by identifying potential barriers and resources available for the journey ahead.

3. Options

In the Options stage, clients explore different strategies to reach their goal. It’s a creative phase that allows the client to consider all possible routes, even those that may seem unfeasible initially. 

Clients use brainstorming techniques to think outside the box and explore various paths toward their selected goal. To build on the previous example, a career transition client might explore options like returning to school, networking in the desired field, internships, or self-learning through online courses. 

This stage unlocks possibilities and helps clients realize their potential while encouraging innovative thinking necessary for goal achievement.

4. Way Forward

The Way Forward stage is about commitment and action. After the client decides on the steps they need to take, you will help them organize the steps into an action plan. The action plan should include timelines, measures to overcome potential obstacles, and evaluation criteria. 

In our career transition scenario, the client might decide to start networking, enroll in an online course, and save a specific monthly amount for potential education costs. 

This stage turns intention into action that solidifies the client’s commitment to achieve their goal. It’s a vital stage because it sets the client toward their goal by driving the coaching process from conversation to action.

What Makes the GROW Model Effective?

Since the late 1980s, The GROW Model has consistently proved to be an effective method, and its popularity in the coaching industry is only increasing. But what makes it such a successful tool?

There are three reasons why most coaches have adopted and implemented the GROW model in their practices.

1. It’s incredibly simple and structured.

The GROW Model is pretty straightforward, making it easy for coaches and clients to understand and apply. Each stage intuitively flows from the previous one. This provides a clear, logical structure for the coaching conversation that minimizes distractions. 

2. It’s easily adaptable. 

The model is flexible enough to apply in any context, applicable to various coaching situations and niches. From life coaching to burnout coaching, the GROW model is suitable for a variety of clients. 

3. It gives the client an active role in their success. 

The GROW Model encourages clients to take an active role in setting their goals. This level of involvement enhances the client’s sense of ownership and responsibility for their personal or professional growth.

two paths diverge in a wooded area

How to Use the GROW Model in a Coaching Session

Begin the session by establishing the goal. Encourage your client to express what they aim to achieve. Use open-ended questions like “What would you like to accomplish?” or “What does success look like to you?” 

Support your client in refining their goal until it meets the SMART criteria. This goal will serve as the session’s guiding light and form the foundation for the subsequent steps.

Next, prompt your client to consider their resources, strengths, weaknesses, and potential obstacles. Questions like “Where are you now in relation to your goal?” or “What resources do you have that can help?” can be beneficial. 

This exploration ensures that the client has a realistic base for crafting an action plan.

Once your client has come to terms with their reality, facilitate a brainstorming session to explore possible strategies and paths to the goal. Encourage your client to think broadly and creatively to consider all potential solutions. 

Ask questions such as “What could you do to reach your goal?” or “What are some alternative strategies?” 

Finally, guide your client in creating a concrete action plan. They need to decide on the steps to take, set a timeline, and determine how to overcome potential obstacles. 

To facilitate this process, have them explore questions like “What will you do?” and “When will you do it?“.

Remember, as a coach, your role is guiding rather than instructing. The GROW Model empowers the client to take the reins to enhance self-reliance and responsibility. Download our GROW Model worksheet to help your clients to find solutions and chart their path forward. 

Unlock More Potential and Possibilities

The journey to unlocking potential and discovering possibilities is a shared experience between coach and client. As clients find their independence, it’s important to remember that they still need effective coaching. 

The GROW Model aids in this process by providing a structured approach to self-discovery and goal attainment. However, real transformation happens when clients apply their insights, take the initiative, and become the architects of their destinies.

Coaching is not about solving problems for clients but enabling them to explore, discover, and build their own solutions. As coaches, our greatest accomplishment is witnessing our clients take flight, seeing them venture into their potential, and watching them turn possibilities into their realities.

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Written by The Coach Factory Team

We're a team of coaching enthusiasts who hire and work with coaches. Members of our team run businesses in the coaching industry or provide services that support coaches, and several of us are coaches ourselves.

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