What is the GROW model?

The GROW model is a coaching and goal setting model consisting of 4 simple steps (G, R, O, W).

  • GROW is an acronym.


Each step establishes a directive to follow in order to achieve a certain goal.


The GROW method is mainly used for professional-coaching purposes.

  • A coach guides a certain Professional reaching his/her goals by following its 4 Steps.

Which type of Goals?


The GROW method works better with Defined and Measurable goals.

  • It is also possible to tackle Subjective Goals, but its effectiveness decrease.

Although this method is widely used for coaching purposes, we propose you to use it for your own Goals.

  • It is a very useful way of organizing your goals and its steps are easy to remember.

GROW model Stages


The first step is to establish a measurable and defined Goal you would like to achieve.



The second step is to check your “reality”.

  • How far you are from this Goal.
  • How realistic this Goal is.
  • Which aspects of your “reality” should be improved for reaching this Goal?
    • Which are your Strengths and Weaknesses.

It is important to be honest in this Stage.

The more honest you are, the better your chances of achieving your Goal.



Now you know what should be improved of your “reality”, it is time to think about the Options you have for doing so.

  • You can elaborate a list with all the options you have.


Will (or Way forward):

  • Basically, What will you do?
  • How will you proceed?

We also recommend establishing how you will track your improvements.

A GROW-ROW model

Since Goals change with less frequency than the Actions taken, we recommend you to think about a GROW-ROW approach.


This just means to check periodically:

  • How your Reality has changed.
  • New Options you have.
  • New actions you Will take.

Let’s see How this Method works with a helpful example:

GROW Model example


Imagine you want to Start your own Business.


Since you have read about the GROW Model, you decide to establish a 2 years deadline.

  • You decide to Start a Wine-export Business.
  • Your Goal is to Reach a Profitability of $1,500 per month.

Now, you’ve got your Goal.



In 2 years you want to have a wine-exportation business generating $1,500 per month in Profits.


But, what do you know about wine or export business?



You have decided to start a wine business because you love wine and you know much more than lots of professionals.

  • However, you don’t know what other countries value most in a wine.


Further, you know practically nothing about:

  • Export-Import business.
  • How to start a Company (bureaucracy).
  • Accountancy.

You just know about wines.



In order to improve your knowledge about export business as well as international wine preferences, you have the next options:

  • Attend to specialized courses.
  • Start with a very small business so you can learn everything on your own.


For keeping your Company’s Accounts, you see 2 main options:

  • Learn how to do it by yourself.
  • Hire a professional when necessary.



You decide to:

  • Start a small beta-business that will allow you to learn everything you need.
    • You establish yourself a 1-year period for learning everything.
  • Hire a professional when needed for keeping your accounts.
    • However, the second year your goal is to do it by yourself so, you’ll also attend to some accountancy lessons.

Your first year will be a learning year, and the second one a Business expansion year.


Once your first year is over, you’ll develop a ROW analysis.

  • Assessing your new Reality.
  • Adding new Options that you have.
  • Deciding which one of them you Will use.

This example can be improved, of course.

We just wanted you to understand how to develop a GROW model.


But… Why is this model so important? Isn’t it something obvious?


We’ll answer you with one question:

  • When was the last time you followed any “scheme” for setting yourself a Goal?

GROW Model with Examples

Most of the People don’t use Decision-Making or Goal-Setting Tools.


One of the best things of the GROW method is its simplicity.

  • You just have to remember 4 simple letters.


But, apart of its simplicity, there are other reasons that make this method very interesting.

Let’s see them, with different examples:

It is Focused on Goals

It is a Goal-driven Methodology.


Unless other methods that focus on the Decision-Making Process, the GROW Method focuses on the final Goal.

  • Moreover, this Goal is Well Defined.


If you don’t have a Goal properly defined, you’ll end up complaining about everything without knowing where you are or where you are heading to.

Getting a promotion - GROW Model Example


Imagine that you want to be promoted in your work.

Since you really want that promotion, you decide to use the GROW model:


Goal: You want to be Promoted in a maximum period of 2 years.

  • You are open to different departments.
  • Your main goal is not just the money but to have more responsibility and challenges.


Reality: You analyze your Department:

  • It’s been 5 years since the last promotion in your Department.
  • You have been working hard for years but you see it difficult since there are not lots of “management” positions.


However, in other Departments the situation is very different:

  • There are plenty of Opportunities.
  • On the other hand, you don’t have the precise knowledge it would require.



  • Stay in your same position and Department and keep working hard.
    • The next time you see your boss you’ll mention him that you’d like to be promoted.
  • Move to another Department and try there.
    • You need the approval of your Manager.
  • Look for another Job (in other Company).



  • You decide to talk to your Boss and tell him that you’d like to know other departments.
  • If he allows you to move there, you’ll give yourself 1 year of hard work before asking for a Promotion.
    • Since you would have experience in 2 different Departments, may have more options than other people.
  • You will suggest a 1-year Test period before getting that Promotion.
    • That will show that you are an honest employee: You want a promotion just if you deserve it.


If, your Boss doesn’t allow you to move to other Department or, once there you see no option of getting promoted in 1 year (after 1 year of hard work) you’ll look for another Job Position (in other company) with more responsibility.

  • You’d still have a whole year for doing so (or 2 if your Boss doesn’t allow you to leave).

You can notice that, in this example, you would be doing a GROW-ROW strategy:

  • If your boss doesn’t allow you to move, you’ll re-assess your Reality, Options and Will, outside your company.
  • If you get to move to other department, you’ll re-assess your options in one year.

The GROW Model checks Reality

Not checking the Real chances of Success, is one of the most Common Mistakes you can make when setting goals.

It seems obvious but is not.


The GROW Model dedicates a Step to check the Reality:

  • The Real chances of Success.
  • The Current situation.
  • What you have.
  • Where you actually are.


Let’s see one Real Situation that happened to us a few years ago:

GROW Model Example


Few years ago, we were analyzing a plastic-recycling Company.

It was a young Company that had already invested 5 million euros in Machinery and Facilities.


They had patented a new plastic-bag recycling system that was able to get rid of the Ink contained in the bags.

  • With this process, they obtained much better recycled plastic as result.
    • This “clean” recycled plastic could be sold at higher prices.

Moreover, the whole process was Environmentally friendly.


Although they already had a 5 million euros equipped facility, it was just a “test” facility.

They were looking to scale up the Process in order to reach competitive prices.


The Business seemed attractive, so we went there in order to assess whether to invest in it or not.


Everything was fine until we talked with the CEO.


When we asked him about their Goals, Deadlines… he literally said:

  • Our goal is to be listed on the Dow Jones in 2 years, but if we have to settle being a billion-dollar company we have no problem.


He wanted us to invest a million euros in the Company and let him manage everything.

  • Although he had no experience at all.


Usually, we tend to “control” the projects we develop since the companies we are specialized in, are in terrible economic situations.


But this company was excessively over-optimistic (of-the-scale optimistic).


And, according to our experience, Over-Optimistic Management gives catastrophic results.

  • They get in “love” with the project and don’t accept external advice.


We ran away from that Project.

What happened to them?


Well… It’s been more than 2 years and they are not listed on the Dow Jones and neither they are a billion euros company.

  • They are exactly where they were.

This real example shows how important is to assess your real chances when setting Goals.


Many good Projects get stuck because they have impossible goals.


A proper developed GROW model should help you to assess where you are and what your Options are.

This Model encourages you to develop a Long-Term plan

Unless other decision-making models, the GROW method is designed for Long-Term Goals.


You can use the GROW method for short-term goals, of course, but:

  • The longer the period is, the greater your chances of success.
  • Ambitious Goals need long periods of time.


Let’s see one last example:

GROW Model Example - Professional Career


Imagin that you want to become the CEO of your Company.


You have 2 main options:

  • To set Short-term goals continuously (getting promotions) and hope you’ll end up as the CEO.
  • Develop a Long-term plan with “becoming the CEO” as your ultimate Goal.


None of these strategies can guarantee that you’ll end up being the CEO but, we can almost assure that if you don’t develop a long-term plan, you’ll have practically no chances of becoming a CEO.


If you really wanted to become a CEO, you would have to:



  • Assess where you are.
  • Which Strengths and Weaknesses you have.
  • Which knowledge, CV or background you need.
  • Which job positions you would need for being a CEO.
    • Sometimes, there are certain Job positions almost required for becoming a CEO.
      • Manager, Sales Manager, etc.
      • That depends on the company.



How you could Reach those Requirements.

  • Course an MBA.
  • Ask for specific promotions.
  • Move to different departments.



Here, you’d have to establish a Long-term plan.

  • A 10 years Long-term plan, for example.


Moreover, you would have to establish reevaluation stages for updating your Reality, Options and Actions (Will).

  • Also, you should be open to Update your ultimate Goal.
    • Maybe, you find a New Position that better fits your Skills.

This example may seem a bit “excessive”.

  • A 10 year-period Goal?


We all have Long-term Goals even if we don’t think about them:

  • Having Kids.
  • Working at something you love.
    • After years of Education and Preparation.
  • Buying a house.
    • After saving money for years.
  • Etc.


Ambitious Goals take time, and the GROW model can help you to trace the path to them.


The GROW model is a goal-oriented method that can be very helpful when pursuing objectives.


These objectives should be:

  • Defined.
  • Measurable.


The GROW method consists of 4 Stages:

  • G – Goal: A Defined and Measurable target.
  • R – Reality: Where you are; which is your Current Situation.
  • O – Options: Your different options for reaching that Goal.
  • W – Will: What you will finally do; Steps to follow.


The longer the period of time, the more ambitious your Goals can be.

Be patient and always, no matter what happens, have a plan.

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