The G.R.O.W. Coaching Model in Leadership: Part One

(Pictured here are OSU Extension educators and community members touring a successful urban farm in order to help clarify goals of other non-profits working to start new urban farms in Cleveland, Ohio.)

Think back to a favorite coach you’ve had at some point in your life. In general, coaches help move us from point A to point B. They strive to help us fulfill our potential.

And as a leader, you may be faced with the challenge of doing this for an employee. Or you may want to help out a colleague. In either case, the G.R.O.W. model is a tool that most anyone can deploy with little to no training.

GROW is a simple acronym that’s equally simple to follow. It is a basic framework that provides a way of structuring coaching sessions to help you have balanced discussions with the person you’re coaching.

It breaks down into four simple steps:

Goal: What do you want to achieve?

Reality: What/where are you now?

Obstacles/Options: What is in your way? What are the options?

Way Forward: What are the next steps to move forward?

To begin, you simply start asking these questions. It’s really that easy. I usually start with the Goal prompt because that’s often where people need help. Dig a little here. Ask the person you’re coaching to make SMART goals. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-oriented and relevant, and Time-bound.)

Again, your job is to help them progress toward a goal or desire they have. If they have a complex challenge or an opportunity that’s too big, help them break it down and make it more manageable.

In his book Above the Line, former Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer gives the example of having the goal of a winning football season. That’s great for an overall long-term goal, but you can’t start there. Meyer states that first, you have to get it right in practice. Then you move on to winning each week. And finally, you start to think about the playoffs.

It’s a process; it’s not just to “have a winning season.”

Once you have broken down the goal into more manageable pieces, and have detailed some of the SMART attributes, it’s now time to coach your person in working through those goals step by step.

One more point about goals: As a coach, you have two levels of goal setting. You’re helping the person being coached; but first, you must ask what you want to accomplish in the coaching session.

What’s my goal as the coach? How can I help them best to move forward? How will you know when that is achieved? Remember, you may be working with someone who has their own goals or they may have been given goals, so that needs to be considered as well.

These discussions will carry you a long way and help you get to the next section: REALITY. We’ll examine that next.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
CAPTCHA This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.



Here at Lead Read Today, we endeavor to take an objective (rational, scientific) approach to analyzing leaders and leadership. All opinion pieces will be reviewed for appropriateness, and the opinions shared are solely of the author and not representative of The Ohio State University or any of its affiliates.