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Tapping into the GROW Model



I saw a meme the other day that said – “2020, I would like to speak to your manager.” I thought that was funny and I even laughed, but isn’t this what we all want now? Somebody to tell us what is going on and when this will end. As we all prepare for the second wave of the coronavirus here in the U.K., like many around me I too feel dejected, fatigued and frustrated. Summer and the low rate of infections gave us some hope, probably the dawn of a new era in September but the reality is that the virus is still here, it’s pretty strong and probably will stay on for a while too. I’ve had many of my clients share how this uncertainty has been debilitating for some whilst it’s made others feel numb like they are just drifting through life with no real purpose.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on how to get Unstuck in a Pandemic and I’ve had numerous positive responses from readers to some of the tips I offered, especially the one on taking baby steps. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, I highly recommend you do so as today’s post is more of a follow up on that. Some of the readers also expressed how they are finding it impossible to set or follow through with any goals. But despite the conditions we are facing, research shows that 90% of us would still like to improve something about ourselves and research also shows that with diligence and goal-setting we have a much greater chance of improving our personal settings than if we wing it and just hope for the best. We have about three months left in this year and I invite you to set a few simple goals you can attain – they don’t have to be momentous, they can be anything, that one baby step that can help move you forward to make your life even a tiny bit better.

Once you are ready to make some improvements or set some goals, I’d like you to tap into the GROW model. GROW is an acronym for Goal, Reality, Options and Way Forward. This is a well-known behavioural coaching model and a simple yet structured approach that can help you lead to improved performance or achievement of a specific goal.




Goal: Goals are anchors for hope, and the more human beings are aligned with their core values in movement toward those goals, the better-engaged people will be in participating in actions that will make those goals realised. The first stage of the GROW model involves the identification of a goal. It’s useful to make the goal challenging while remaining realistic. Make sure it’s specific, and you have the self-efficacy to achieve it. For instance, a valid goal for you can be the setting up of a wellness plan for the next 4 weeks. Possible questions you can use to facilitate the Goals stage to articulate the goal:

  • What do I want to achieve?

  • What do I mean by wellness?

  • What shifts am I looking to achieve in these 4 weeks?

  • What do I need to know about…?


Reality: The next step of the GROW process is exploring the reality of your goal. This area of GROW allows for an invitation for self-assessment. The information that is required to solve problems adequately can be illuminated during this part of the framework. Possible questions you can use to facilitate the Reality stage:

  • What’s the problem standing in the way of my wellbeing programme?

  • Why is it a problem?

  • What have I tried before in the past? What happened?

  • How do I feel about that?


Options: This stage involves generating options or brainstorming multiple ideas to achieve the set goal. This allows you to explore possibilities and to choose which of those possibilities will work the best to move them forward. Possible questions you can use to facilitate the Options stage:

  • What options do I think there are?

  • What have I tried?

  • What are the pros and cons of this?

  • Is there anything else that I can do?


Way Forward: The final element is to identify a way forward through action. This may be a single course of action or a series of action steps. Having an accountability buddy in the process can help you hold yourself accountable to what you said you were going to do. Possible questions you can use to facilitate the Way Forward stage:

  • What action am I going to take and by when?

  • What obstacles do I expect?

  • How will I overcome them?

  • Who will I get support from?

  • What resources will I need?

The GROW model is well-validated process to help you move forward towards your goals. This simple model can work brilliantly especially at a time like this when there is so much mind clutter and uncertainty. This gives you an opportunity to mindfully use the elements of GROW to attain your goal through developing and deploying the right behaviours. You can also work with a coach or change work professional who can help you develop competencies and remove blocks to achieve valuable and sustainable changes in your professional and personal life.

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