What is GROW?: Part 1 – Introduction

5 mins read

This article introduces the GROW model of coaching and leadership.

In a business, there are various roles that may act as leaders. A leader could be the business owner, CEO, COO, a manager, or a supervisor for example. As leaders in a business, one of their primary roles is to help employees grow and develop their skills in order to improve their performance, which tends to involve coaching and helping them solve the problems that are holding them back from progressing or reaching their full potential. There is a great deal of change within a business, and many of those changes will bring up healthy challenges to grow through.

So, as a leader in business, how can you help employees through these challenges? There are some leaders that can gain access to formal training to be a leader or coach, while many others need to develop these important leadership skills themselves. For those that are learning and developing these skills on their own, it may seem intimidating or overwhelming when starting out or when helping with a new problem that is unfamiliar. However, there are many tools, tutorials, resources, and proven techniques or models that can be accessed to help in the process. In this article we will introduce one of these proven techniques, which is called GROW.

What does GROW mean?

GROW is an acronym used in a model developed in the 1980s by business coaches Graham Alexander, Alan Fine, and Sir John Whitmore. It is a simple 4 step process that can be applied to many circumstances including problem solving, improving performance, and planning to achieve goals or objectives.

GROW stands for:

1. Goal
    Establish a goal

2. Current Reality
     Describe the current reality, the starting point

3. Obstacles and Options
     Determine the obstacles that are present, and the possible options for reaching the objective

4. Way Forward
     Commit to specific actions to move forward

What is GROW used for?

The GROW model can be used as a framework or structure for leading, coaching, and helping people through challenges by problem solving. It is important to understand that as a leader or coach within a business, using the GROW model with an employee means helping without giving them the answers. For people to build their self-belief and truly reach success, they need to know it is from their own effort; in other words, they must put in the work themselves. As John Whitmore explains in his book Coaching for Performance, “The coach is not a problem solver, a teacher, an adviser, an instructor, or even an expert; he or she is a sounding board, a facilitator, a counselor, an awareness raiser.” John then adds “No two human minds or bodies are the same. How can I tell you how to use yours to their best? Only you can discover how, with AWARENESS.” Awareness is knowing what is happening around you, while self-awareness is knowing what you are experiencing.

Presenting the GROW model to an employee within a business, then allowing them to work through it on their own with guidance where needed will empower them to become aware of the problems or challenges that are present, then work through solving the problems or work towards the goals they want to achieve.

Guiding Employee GROWth

In short, the GROW model is a proven technique that can be used to help guide employee GROWth! The GROW model involves following the 4 step process of setting a goal, assessing the reality which is the current starting point for achieving that goal, determining the obstacles and possible options to achieve the objective, and committing to specific actions that will help move forward towards the goal. This tool may be useful for anyone to work through, as well as coaches or leaders to present to employees within the business. After reading this article, we challenge you to consider how this model could provide value within your business!

Now that we’ve given you an overview of the GROW model, the rest of this series will take you step by step through the process. Next up, Part 2 explains the 1st step in the 4 step process: Goal Setting.

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