How to Coach in Four Easy Steps

by | May 17, 2017 | News

The GROW model – a great way to structure coaching sessions.

Do you want to coach someone yet you aren’t sure where to start?  The GROW model (developed by Sir John Whitmore and Graham Alexander) provides a great framework for a coaching session that can last a minute or an hour.

Its premise is that every individual has the potential to develop and improve themselves, they just need help unlocking their potential through asking helpful questions which build awareness and responsibility.

GROW stands for the four key stages in coaching: Goal, Reality, Options, Will

  • G – GOALS  What do you want?  Set a goal for the session as well as the short and long term.
  • R – REALITY  What is happening right now?  Check to explore the current situation.
  • O – OPTIONS  What could you do?  What alternative strategies or courses of action are there?
  • W – WILL  What will you do?  What is to be done, when, by whom and is there the will to do it?

GROW needs the individual to be aware and responsible and this outcome is achieved through skilful questioning.  Here are some examples of coaching questions that can be elaborated on and used as a guide.


  1. What would you like to have by the end of this half hour?
  2. What issue would you like to work on?


  1. So now we have your goals, let’s look at things as they stand now?
  2. What steps have you taken so far?


  1. What are the different things you could do?
  2. What would you do if you had more time?


  1. Which of these are you going to do?
  2. When are you going to start and finish each action?




Q: What would you like to have by the end of this half hour?

A: A plan to get fitter.

Q: How long is this plan for?

A: Just for three months to help me get going.

Q: How fit would you like to be and by when/what weight do you want to get down to and by when/how will we measure fitness? etc.


Q: Let’s look at where we are now.  How much do you weigh?

A: 14 stone

Q: When did you last weigh yourself?

A: A long time ago

Q: OK could you borrow some scales or find a way to weigh yourself this week so we have an accurate starting point?

A: Yes

Q: What is your diet like, do you eat a lot?

A: Yes I love crisps and chocolate and beer.

Q: Have you been eating a lot recently?

A: Yes, I don’t know why,  I seem to when I am worried.

Q: What do you think you could be worried about/what bothers you most/what do you eat too much of/how often/when? etc..


Q: So what are the different things you could do to lose weight and get fitter?

A: I could go swimming.

Q: What else?

A: I could eat less chocolate?

Q: What else could you do exercise wise?

A: I could run more often.

Q: Anything else? Would you like one more option to consider?  What could you do if you have a bike etc?


Q: OK so we have out list, which of these are you going to do?

A: I am going to run more often, three times a week for 15 minutes.

Q: When are you going to start that?

A: Next week.

Q: Which days and what time each day are you going to run?

A: Erm, Tues & Thurs before work and Sunday morning.  On Sunday I’ll try and run for 20 minutes.

Q: What else are you going to do?

A: Ditch the beer.

Q: Is that realistic? What will you drink when you go to the pub?

A: Er, that’s probably not doable, no.

Q: Can I make a suggestion/What obstacles can you forsee/What support do you need and from whom? etc..

Eventually you would get down to a set of WILL questions which ties the coachee down to his chosen actions.  Ensure that you book in an agreed date when you will next meet, to check in on progress.  It can be helpful to send motivational texts or emails to the coach to keep the momentum going.

Remember that most coaching conversations don’t have to be so structured – good coaching happens when the coach just thinks you have just been helpful and considerate and a good listener.

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