GROW model – A-Z of Coaching & Mentoring

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A – Z Coaching and Mentoring – This week’s extract focuses on the GROW model – one of the most widely used of all coaching systems.

Don’t forget if you have a special request for a definition of a coaching term or principle, just let us know! Perfect for anyone studying for an ILM Coaching & Mentoring qualification, or as a refresher for experienced coaches.


GROW Model

GROW (Whitmore 2002) is probably the most widely used of all coaching systems. The GROW model was developed in the mid 1980s by Alan Fine, Graham Alexander and Sir John Whitmore. It is based on the principle that peak performance isn’t about acquiring additional knowledge, but rather allowing a person to develop and act upon what they already know. Timely, accurate and better decisions produce better results. The GROW model was first written about in Whitmore’s book ‘Coaching for Performance’ and although there are now slight variations being used, the original four steps are as follows:

  • Goal
  • Reality
  • Options
  • Ways forward


As with all coaching models, the steps can be used in sequence or with flexibility. An experienced coach will support their client through the model seamlessly, revisiting steps as required. The final step will usually be used to close a coaching session and to create accountability, with specific actions and timescales being agreed. The GROW structure is also useful for delivering feedback. Here are some adaptations of GROW (added letters shown):
  • GROW TH – tactics and habits
  • T GROW – target
  • F GROW – focus
  • I GROW – issue
  • S GROW- strengths


Taken from the A-Z Coaching Handbook by Clare Smale where you will find a comprehensive A-Z, plus a full list of references.

Contact us for your copy or order through our website. Click here to find out more about ILM Qualifications.

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