Coaching Models – Part 2

Posted by & filed under Executive Coaching, Leadership Development.

A Discussion of the GROW Coaching Model to Enable Managers to Consider another “Coach Approach”

At MarchFifteen, we use a number of different coaching models and strategies as certified/qualified business coaches. Some of these can be complex and require training and practice. Some coaching models, however, can be quite simple.

We recognize the trend in business to encourage managers to use a simplified kind of coaching in the everyday management of their direct reports. A “Coach Approach” allows direct reports to feel more a part of the discussions that take place, and the decisions that are made, in the workplace.

Two models that are well known to many, and have stood the test of time, are the ICA and GROW models. These two models are often used by managers and leaders within business and organizational environments of all types. If you would like to think about trying out a “Coach Approach,” you might look at designing the next conversation with your direct reports in one of these two formats. Today in this blog I will be covering the GROW Model. In a past blog, PART I, I covered the ICA Model.


The GROW model is adapted from John Whitmore’s book, Coaching for Performance. It looks at the following:

G – Setting a Goal

Key Questions: What is the topic under discussion? What is the goal or objective for this session? What is the goal for the short and long term?

The direct report brings up a specific topic and identifies what the goal is during the coaching interaction. We are reminded here that in a business setting, goals are SMART, or Specific, Measurable, Agreed on, Realistic, and Time Specific goals. Other elements of goals are that they should be clear, positively stated, challenging, and there should be an ownership of goals.

R Reality

Key Question: What is the current reality you face?

In this stage of the model there is a discussion of the direct report’s perspective, the coach’s perspective, and what is relevant and irrelevant in this situation.  In this reality-check we are asking questions like WHAT, WHERE, WHO, AND HOW MUCH—using the WHY and HOW sparingly at this point. It is important that we are helping to describe the reality, and not judging the reality, for the direct report.


The manager and the direct report brainstorm and ask questions that allow the direct report to look deeper into the current reality for themselves, even including their emotions, attitudes, and body sensations and cues.


Key Question: What is the full range of options and alternative strategies or course of action?

The manager and direct report now work together to understand what the direct report would suggest at this point. The manager encourages the client’s suggestions and brainstorms options with them if at all possible. Suggestions are offered only with permission.

W – Wrap-up

Key Questions – What is to be done? When and by whom? Can you commit to the Objective?

At this point the direct report should be at the point where they are moving towards a decision, and action and further questions are appropriate before finishing your meeting. These include:

  • What are you going to do now?
  • When will you do it?
  • Will these actions meet your goal?
  • What obstacles might you meet along the way?
  • Who needs to know?
  • What support do you need? How and when are you going to get that support?
  • What other considerations do you have?
  • How committed are you to follow through?

And there it is: a ready-to-use model for your consideration. We hope that it allows you to at least understand where you might start to take a “Coach Approach” in the management of your most valued asset, your people.

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