How do we GROW effectively to be really Excellent?

coachingAn organisation progresses by helping its people develop and grow. What is the best and most effective way to achieve this? There are several approaches that can be taken. Judy Hart, Head of Business Development at IiE, explains how coaching can deliver positive impact on the development of your people.

“Our coaching engagements are designed to enhance performance and harness talent. Research shows that the most effective approach to learning and development is one that imparts skills directly to learners. Whilst originally based upon findings from university students, it is now applicable across organisations outside academia.”

“One of the approaches we favour is the GROW Model. It is an acronym that stands for:

  • Goal
  • Reality
  • Options
  • Will (or Way Forward)

This can be used by managers to help their people improve performance, solve problems, make better decisions, learn new skills, and reach their career goals. The key to coaching and using the GROW model is all about asking great questions. Coaching isn’t telling the person what to do – it’s helping them come up with his or her own answers by asking the right question at the right time.


The first part of GROW looks at establishing clarity of direction and purpose of the recipient of the coaching. Questions that might be addressed in this section can include the following:

  • What goal do you want to achieve?
  • What would you like to happen with…?
  • What outcome would be ideal?
  • Why are you hoping to achieve this goal?
  • What would the benefits be if you achieved this goal?


This step of GROW helps the coach and their “client” gain awareness of the current situation – what’s going on, the context, the magnitude of the situation, etc. It’s not a rapid-fire interrogation, and the coach will use active listening skills. Consider:

  • What is happening now (what, who, when, and how often)?
  • Where are you now in relation to your goal?
  • What is working well/badly right now?
  • Do you know other people who have achieved that goal?
  • What could you do better this time?


Once both parties have a clear understanding of the situation, the coaching conversation turns to what the person can do to reach their goal. For example:

  • What do you think you need to do next as a first step?
  • What do you think you need to do to get closer to your goal?
  • What would happen if you did nothing?
  • Who do you know who has encountered a similar situation?
  • If anything was possible, what would you do?

Will, or Way Forward

The last step in the GROW model. Here the coach checks for commitment and helps establish a clear action plan for next steps. This plan can be used as a constant point of reference and the person can measure progress against the agreed targets and objectives. In creating the plan, the coach should ask the person:

  • How are going to go about it?
  • What obstacles are getting in the way of success?
  • What resources can help you?
  • When are you going to start?
  • What three actions can you take that would make sense in the next week?

A coaching conversation may not always follow a neat sequential four-step path, but having an arsenal of awesome questions within the GROW framework gives people the confidence needed to get started, until it becomes a natural, conversational flow, ebbing back and forth within the framework.”

Judy is available to discuss all of your various Coaching needs, and you can learn more here.