The GROW Model and the powerful questions

So, what is the GROW model and how to use the powerful questions to support it? Firstly, find out here about the 4 steps of the GROW model: Goal, Reality, Options and Wrap Up! Secondly, learn about the powerful questions and how to make them effective and solution focused!

The Grow Model for coaching

The GROW model: Goal, Reality, Options and Obstacles, Wrap Up / Way Forward / Will.

Surely, the GROW Model is the most common coaching framework thanks to its simplicity. Indeed the GROW model has 4 steps simply articulated: Goal, Reality, Options and Wrap Up.


Firstly, the Goal that is the target where the coachee wants to be:

  • Indeed, the coaching starts with establishing a goal.
  • In addition, it should be defined in such a way that it is very clear to the coachee when the/she has achieved it. To illustrate, SMART format is a good way to to set it.


Secondly, the Reality that is where the coachee is now:

  • This second step builds the awareness around the reality for the coach but also the coachee.
  • To illustrate, here are some questions: what are the issues, the challenges, how far is the coachee away from his/her goal?

Options and Obstacles

Thirdly, the Options step sometimes enriched with the Obstacles is to explore the gap between the reality and the target:

  • What are the options ?
  • What are the obstacles and how to overpass them?

Wrap Up, Way Forward, Will

At last, the final step is the Wrap Up to come out with an action plan and commitments for the coachee to achieve or at least to progress toward his/her Goal.

The powerful questions for coaching

So, what are the characteristics of powerful questions?

Open questions

  • Firstly, they are questions for which answer is not just “Yes” or “No”.
  • Secondly, they help the coachee to open up and give more information.
  • At last, they allow the coachee have a new look on the topic, explore new possibilities and come up with his/her own solutions to move forward.

Effective questions

Clearly, the questions the coach asks are for the benefit of the coachee for him/her to progress on exploring current situation and possibilities:

  • Firstly, to gain awareness and broaden perspective:
    • Gain clarity, understanding and perspective.
    • Explore facts, thoughts and feelings.
  • Secondly, to change perspective and investigate alternatives:
    • Look at issues from a different point of view.
    • Provoke deeper or alternative thinking.
    • Challenge current thinking.
    • Explore options.
  • Finally, to plan and take actions.

Solution-focused questions

Make the coachee move towards a solution rather than dwelling on the issue or the causes of the problem.

Reflective questions

Reflect back the words, thoughts and feelings picked up from the coachee: this shows that the coach is listening, supports building the relationship and enables further exploration.

Example of powerful questions based on the GROW model


  • What goal do you want to achieve?
  • What do you want to achieve from this coaching session?
  • What do you want to change?
  • What will be the benefits when you achieve this goal?
  • What will be different when you achieve this goal?
  • How will you known that you have reached your goal?


  • What is happening now (what, who, when, and how often)? What is the effect or result of this?
  • Have you already taken any steps towards your goal?
  • How would you describe what you did?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, where are you?
  • What has contributed to your success so far?
  • What is working well right now?
  • What do you think is stopping you?


  • What are your options?
  • What could be your first step?
  • What do you think you need to do to get a better result (or closer to your goal)?
  • What has worked for you already? How could you do more of that?
  • What could you do differently?
  • Where will you be from a scale from 1 to 10 if you achieve this first step? What will be different?

Wrap Up, Will, Way Forward

  • What option(s) do you choose?
  • To what extent does this meet your objective?
  • How are you going to measure your progress ?
  • What is the first step you are going to start with after our coaching session and when?
  • What commitment on a 1 to 10 scale do you have about these agreed actions?
  • What could you do or alter to raise this commitment closer to 10?
  • What support would help and from whom?

Surely, these 2 additional tools are needed to deliver effective coaching, at team or enterprise level, and support change management in agile or other fields.

What’s next? Learn more about Coaching and discover Change Management

Read my other posts on coaching for instance on trust, feedback and active listening, on the Coaching Competencies, on the delegated roles in meeting and on Change Management.

Review also my post about Metaphors in Coaching where we review Clean Language that has similarities with Powerful Questions.

Do you want to learn more about the GROW Model and the Powerful Questions? Here are some valuable references

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