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The GROW model is an incredibly useful and commonly used goal-setting and problem-solving model which first came about in the UK, during the 1980s and 1990s. It provides a basic framework that can be used in mentoring and coaching sessions.

What does GROW even mean?

The acronym stands for:

  • Goal
  • Reality
  • Options
  • Way Forward

1. GOAL

Within this first stage of the model, the goal is the main focus, and everything in this stage is orientated around ensuring the client will get to where they want to be. It’s expected that a specific topic will be discussed between the mentor/coach and the mentee/client. From this, it’s vital that exact objectives and end results are set – these may be both long and short term. It’s also crucial for these goals to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely).

For example, in the context of weight loss, it would be useless to set a goal like “I want to look slim” or “I want to lose 15 kilos by next week”. Instead, something like “I want to lose 10 kilos in 3 months and retain that weight” provides a specific short and a long term goal, whilst being realistic and quantifiable. Most importantly positive and inspirational to the client, acting as an attainable challenge that will sensibly push them.

Within this goal setting stage, the coach may ask a variety of questions, such as

  • ‘What are you aiming for?’
  • ‘How would you feel once this goal is achieved?’
  • ‘How will your life be different then from now?’

2. REALITY

Here, the mentor and client shall examine the present reality of the client, using specialist techniques. This could start by the client assessing their current situation by themselves, before the mentor steps in to provide more specific advice on the scenario at hand. The mentor should be looking to identify their client’s potential, rather than focusing on any personal problems.

Back to our previous example of weight loss, questions that the mentor may ask could be, “What did you do differently when you’ve successfully lost weight in the past?”, “between the times when you’ve kept weight off versus putting it back on again, what was different?”

More broad questions should be able to identify any hurdles that may occur on their path to improvement and accurately determine how far they are from the end goal.

3.OPTIONS

At this point both the mentor and mentee need to figure out how to make this plan achievable. There will naturally be an array of options available as to how the client will be able to conquer any of the current issues laid out in the Reality section. The mentor should endeavour to initially have the client dominate the conversation, and invite them to make a range of suggestions, which can then be discussed. It is vital for the mentor to be cautious and sensitive when offering their own ideas, and ensure that it is aligned with the client’s own capabilities.

4. WAY FORWARD

We have arrived at the final stage! The Options discussed now need to be converted into actionable steps and strategies which will deliver the client to their goal. A plan will be drawn up by the mentor, which should include specific guidelines and times in order to increase the manageability of this plan, making it more likely for the client to succeed. With any personal plan retaining flexibility is vital, if the client experiences any negative events, the plan should not make them feel defeated or disheartened.

An example question that a coach may ask could include, “what actions will you take to achieve your goals?”. Drawing us back to our weight loss scenario, those actions could include making a daily diet plan or shopping list, remembering to include celebration on achievement at certain points.

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