The GROW Model

I was introduced to the GROW model on my first cohort with the Mozilla Open Leaders program using it as a method of setting goals and navigating the problems you experience when trying to achieve those goals.

Originally developed in the UK, it was used extensively in corporate coaching in the late 1980’s and 90’s. We used as a framework for meeting and is broken into five parts.

G. Goal

First establish the end point, where the client wants to be in such a way that is is clear when you have reached that point. 

To reference Avengers this would be when Thanos is defeated and everyone who died in the snap is resurrected. What good about this is it’s clear and easy to identify when that point has been reached.

R. Reality

The reality is where the client is now. What are the issues, the challenges and how far away are they from the goal?. 

To get an unbiased opinion this should come from the client but you can help by asking questions to make sure the reality is fully explored.

  • What is happening now? 
  • What is the effect or result of this?
  • Have you already taken any steps towards your goal?
  • Does this goal conflict with any other goals or objectives?

So continuing our Avengers example, what is our reality? Half the universe has been wiped out, no one knows if they can be brought back and the glove was destroyed.

O. Obstacles

The third part can be broken down into two sides, Obstacles and Options. 

These obstacles are stopping the clients from getting to where they want to be,

  • What are they?
  • Have they had success in the past, what made the difference?
  • What might you need to change in order to achieve the goal? 

In reality if there were no obstacles, then they’d already be at their goal.

Diving back to the movies, the steps they already took were to bring the fight to Thanos on the world of Titan but that wasn’t the grand success they hoped for. What were the obstacles in their way? What could have the done differently to achieve their goal?

O. Options

Now we’ve identified our Goal, Reality and Obstacles what are our Options? What things can we do to get to our Goal?

Things you can do here are,

  • Take time to brainstorm the full range of options.
  • Offer suggestions carefully, remember you don’t want to be seen as the expert in their situation you’re more trying to unlock valuable nuggets of information that the client might have overlooked that’s available to them.
  • Are there any constraints we can remove?
  • Are we repeating some action without noticing that we could potentially remove?

Once we’re happy with the options available to us we can move onwards.

I understandably don’t know what happens next with Avengers. However that doesn’t mean we can’t break down what their options are and make sure they don’t repeat those same mistakes again.

W. Way Forward

So now we’ve identified the obstacles and uncovered our options we can move on to deciding on a path forward.

We can go ahead and convert those options to actions points, attach time frames to the relevant ones and start building a plan to getting to our end goal.

Things we can do,

  • Commit to action.
  • Set a long-term aim if appropriate.
  • Make specific steps and define timing.
  • Ensure choices are made.


One of the takeaways from this process is to understand that it’s really focused on asking questions. 

You don’t have to be an expert in their situation, you’re more of a facilitator in the conversation.