GROW for Coaching Performance


by Kevin Watson



As a leader, you are responsible for getting the best out of your team by encouraging each individual to take responsibility and reach his or her potential.

One way to do this is to ask purposeful questions, as these enable people to align themselves to an outcome or goal, come up with their own ideas to help achieve the goal and then commit to action.

The key principle behind using purposeful questions is that ownership of each person’s performance and development lies squarely with the individual.

A great leader can guide and support but ultimately the responsibility and accountability for performance lie with the individual.

Here is a useful framework to guide you. It is based upon asking the person questions, then actively listening and summarising to guide them in taking responsibility to act.

G: Goal

What is the goal/objective? What has to be achieved?

And…by when?

What standards need to be reached or maintained in order to achieve the outcome?

Think of SMART at this point and make sure the person understands the context, the ‘why’ the outcome is important. It is also important to state the goal in the positive, i.e. what is to be achieved rather than what is not wanted.

R: Reality

What is the situation now?

What has happened so far?

Where is the person starting from?

Don’t spend too long in this phase, as it is easy to get seduced into over analysing ‘why’ a situation has occurred when this may not be relevant. The aim is to raise awareness of current performance level, capability and motivation/belief.

O: Options

What ideas has the person come up with to achieve the objective?

What can this person possibly do in order to achieve the goal?

What else can he or she do?

And…what else?

Only after the person has run dry of ideas should you offer suggestions, as the aim is to elicit as many options that the person can commit to as possible. Don’t dismiss or evaluate them at this stage, but simply note them.

W: Will

Out of these, which options will he or she commit to doing?

What actions will the person take, and by when?

When does the person want to follow up with you?

It is important to agree on timescales for review at this stage, taking a lead from what the person has indicated as possible.

Call to Action

To get used to the GROW Model here’s an opportunity to apply it to yourself.

Take a moment to think of your own personal development and identify an area where you would like to improve.

Now, grab a blank sheet of paper and write down:

  • What do you want to achieve? And by when?
  • In reality, where are you starting from?
  • What options are available to you?
  • Which of these options do you feel committed to most?
  • What will you commit to, and by when?

Let me know how you get on with the GROW Model by leaving a comment below.


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About the Author

Kevin Watson

Kevin is a highly experienced Leadership Coach and acts as Consultant to several boards of global organisations, as well as local business owners. He is passionate about making a difference by enabling and encouraging leaders who want to create and sustain meaningful change in themselves and the organisation.



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