How to Coach Your Team with the GROW Model

Leadership coach, Susanne Madsen, provides an acronym that can help project leaders structure a coaching conversation.

Here’s a shot of the whiteboard for your reference!

GROW model to project problem solving

In Review: Coaching with the GROW Model

When you coach someone, Susanne said, you’re trying to help them improve their performance, but not through giving them advice. Rather, effective coaching is all about empowering people to find answers for themselves by asking the right questions.

She suggested the GROW model, which is an acronym that breaks down as follows:

  • G stands for goal – What is the problem you would like to achieve?
  • R stands for reality – What obstacles are currently in your way?
  • O stands for options – What could you do to move yourself just one step forward?
  • W stands for will – What are your next steps, what will you do, and by when?

Coaching is not about just having a pleasant conversation. By having a structured strategy such as this, Susanne notes, your success rate is improved. Consider it a bit of coaching advice on how to coach.

Take it further: Learn what really motivates people in Susanne’s previous training video. 

Thanks for watching!


Hi, I’m Susanne Madsen. Welcome to this whiteboard session on coaching with the GROW model. First, we’ll look at what coaching is, and then we’ll examine how the GROW model can help you to structure a coaching conversation.

Coaching is essentially a way to help someone move forward. It is not about giving advice. In fact, it’s about empowering someone else to find the answers for themselves by asking insightful questions.

The GROW model can help us to structure such a coaching conversation. The GROW model is one of the most widely used frameworks in the marketplace for coaching. What does this stand for? G stands for goal. R stands for reality. O stands for options. W stands for will do all the way forward. As you move through your coaching conversation you step through each of these four steps.

You start with the goal. You need to understand what we’re talking about here. What is the problem or what would the coachee like to achieve? You ask questions such as, “Tell me about the problem, what does the situation look like when the problem is resolved, or what would you like to achieve?” You’ve got to understand what we’re talking about here.

Then, we move on to reality. Here we explore what’s really going on for the coachee at the moment. We ask questions such as, “What are you experiencing? What’s going on? Tell me a bit more about the problem or tell me a bit more about what you want to achieve. What have you already tried?” A very important question, and, “What obstacles are in your way?”

Most of the coaching conversation will happen in reality. As you explore with the coachee what is really going on at the moment, oftentimes the solution may pop out by itself. The coachee will say, “Oh gosh, I never thought of that, now I see what I need to do.” It’s very powerful. You become a sounding board or a mirror to the person you’re coaching.

Then, you move on to options. This is essentially where the coach helps the coachee to brainstorm what they could do to move themselves forward. You ask, “What are your options, what could you do to move yourself just one step forward, and what will you do if you knew you couldn’t fail,” is that famous coaching question.

Lastly, we move on to what will you do, the W. You see, coaching is not just a nice conversation. It’s a structured framework for helping someone move on and find an answer and make progress. We’ve got to finish with a positive action. We ask, “What are your next steps, what will you do, and by when?” Preferably ask them to write it down so that they definitely are committing to taking action. “What support do you need and from whom?” You might even ask, “How are you going to reward yourself when you’ve taken these actions?”

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