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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tools - The GROW Model

The GROW Model is a excellent framework for coaching, a key technique for project managers.

The acronym GROW stands for:

Goal (What is your goal?)
Reality (What is the current reality?)
Options and Obstacles (What are your options?  What is stopping you?)
Way Forward (How will you proceed?)

I've covered the GROW model before.  Today I cover the GROW model in the context of our new Tools Tuesday series by demonstrating the technique.

Coach:  What are your current goals

PM:  I want to relocate to the west part of the state where I hope to retire, and find a project management challenge to keep me excited and engaged up to retirement.

Coach:  What is your current reality?

PM:  I just finished a contract and am looking for my next challenge.

Coach:  What are your options?

PM:  I've been approached about a couple of opportunities in my desired location.

Coach:  What are your current obstacles?

PM:  Nothing is standing in my way.  I do need to land my next gig fast for cash flow purposes.  Thank G*d that I am in a good position financially.

Coach:  How will you move forward?

PM:  Continue to pursue opportunities in my desired locations - if I haven't landed well in three weeks, open a national job search.


This model makes coaching sessions easy - and helps the coach to step back and allow the person being coached to do most of the talking
  1. The GROW model works just fine for self-coaching sessions
  2. Documenting a GROW session allows for easy follow up
    • Illustrates changing goals
    • Tracks progress against goals
    • Identifies obstacles that the coach may be able to help eliminate
I recommend this model to any PM for use with project team members.


  1. The GROW Model is described here as it applies to an individual session but part of its strength is that it can equally well be applied to a part of a session, or to series of sessions. In each case, the principle is the same.

    1. Great point Jeneliya! Sorry to be so slow to respond, but I can see how GROW can grow to cover a larger temporal period, or shrink to cover a very small item. I would love for you to flesh out these thoughts - interested in posting to as a guest poster? If yes, alancasey at alumni dot northwestern dot edu.