Abintus Coaching Resources

Many coaches use ‘coaching models’ to help frame their coaching conversations, structure their questions and provide a simple process for the coachee to follow.


The GROW model was championed by and associated with John Whitmore since its inclusion in his 1992 publication ‘Coaching for Performance’, though several writers also reference it and lay claim to it.

Whitmore originally considered that GROW (Goal, Reality, Options and Will) was merely a ‘sequence of questions’ (1992) to follow, but it has since been seen as a coaching model. Many models of coaching now exist but GROW is often used as a core model to understand and practice for new coaches.


The creation of a performance goal is to get the coachee to identify what they want to achieve by the end of their coaching session. It is something tangible and meaningful that will ultimately contribute to whatever their end goal is for the series of coaching sessions.

It should be specific, ideally measurable for both the coach and coachee and come from the coachee, given their knowledge of their own context. The goal is the foundation of the conversation so should be given time to ensure each party has absolute clarity, understanding and agreement in what the goal is.


Reality relates to the current situation of the coachee in relation to their goal. What is and has been happening with the coachee in the context of their goal. Obtaining deeper awareness of the situation, actions, experiences, successes, challenges, failures, thoughts and feelings to create more of an awareness for both parties.

For the coach it is an information gathering phase, seeking as much as they can to help inform their future questions and also the later options for the coachee.


Having obtained an understanding of the current situation in relation to the goal, the coach now works with the coachee to identify new or alternative courses of action to ones they have already tried.

Not about obtaining a ‘right’ answer but a variety of options to consider.  The ‘Model T’ approach is often used to consider the range options. The coach seeks to expand and develop a list of options (quantity) to maximise choice, then encourages the coachee to filter or focus and select options which might be more likely to help them achieve their goal (Quality).

They might get the coachee to rate how likely each is to assist them the most or consider other variables such as time, cost or confidence in applying them to determine one or two options to move forward with. The coach shouldn’t look to explore each option until they have a number of options and has got the coachee to filter down these to two or three.

Will / Wrap Up

Having now identified some options to help achieve their goal, the coach looks to gain some momentum from the coachee. The coach is looking to get some action and commitment from the coachee to move them toward achieving their goal.

The coach can use the acronym SPAM© in this process:

  • Summarise – the discussions so far
  • Plan – what option(s) does the coachee want to take forward and how might they implement them
  • Actions – what specific and initial actions does the coachee need to take to establish their options
  • Motivation – what support do they need from the coach and others? What particular obstacles can the coachee think of that might happen and impact them? When will the coachee start to implement their plan?

The coach needs to ensure that the coachee leaves the conversation with clear direction and certainty as to how they will go about achieving their goal

Myles Downey in his book ‘Effective Coaching – lessons from the coach’s coach’ (1999) adds a further dimension to GROW and he calls it TGROW, where the ‘T’ stands for Topic. He separates out the topic from the goal. For example – ‘what is it you would like to talk about today?’ (Topic) then ‘what would you like to achieve from today’s conversation (Goal).

This provides the coach and coachee with more clarity and in the GROW process, as some coaches with often confuse what the coachee wants to talk about, and consider this as the coachee goal, when it isn’t.

Please refer to the resource Simple TGROW Questions to learn more about the types of questions suitable for each part of the GROW model.


Downey, M. (1999), Effective Coaching – Lessons From The Coach’s Coach. Thompson Texere. Orion Business
Whitmore, J. (1992), Coaching for Performance. Nicholas Brealey Publishing. London.

Any coaching model should be seen as an enabler of the coaching conversation If you have found this resource useful, contact Abintus to see how we can support you or your organisation in its coaching and leadership activities.