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Leadership 101: Part 5 – Lead Yourself to Success with the Grow Model

Layne McDonald. Ph.D.

Do you know that one of the great problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas? - Margaret Thatcher

The best people to lead others in success are coaches. They are trained to precisely do that. One of the tools they use that is very efficient is called the GROW model. 


What Is the GROW Model? 


The GROW model is a simple and powerful coaching tool developed in the ’80s by Graham Alexander, Alan Fine, and Sir John Whitmore. It is a straightforward four-step tool that is exceptionally intuitive and simple to implement. 


It is possible to use the GROW model on a personal goal or with a professional aim. Whatever the subject, the problem, the mere existence of a solution to be found, or a choice can justify the four phases of the GROW model because it allows you to draw on your resources. 


The GROW model’s name is an acronym for the four steps: Goal, Reality, Options, and Will. Let us walk you through the steps. 




We are going to start by finding your goal or your aim. This can be the aim itself or the expected result. Be clear, concrete, and always focus on the target. 


Here are some of the questions you can answer. 

- What do you want to conduct in life?

- Is there anything more important than this accomplishment? 

- How will you know that you have reached that goal? 

- How does life look like when you have conducted that goal? 

The goal should be specific enough to give you a direction. The aim can evolve during the various steps of the GROW model, but it should not be major unless it is an important lesson to learn. 




In the reality phase, you will describe the current situation and how is the current situation limiting you or empowering you to reach your goal. List the weaknesses and strengths you have for achieving this aim. 


Here are some questions you can ask yourself in this phase:  

- How do I feel about conducting my goal? 

- What are the barriers to my goal? 

- What are the values that are the most important right now? 

- What resources do I have to help me with my goal? 

- Am I resisting something about the goal? 

- What limiting belief do I have in reaching my goal? 

- On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being not at all), ten being committed, are you to that goal right now? 

This phase will help you understand the situation and what led to it. It is helpful to approach the problem from a cognitive but emotional. This step uncovers the interferences (beliefs, objections, etc.) that oppose the achievement of the aim. 




This step is essential. It is crucial to consider all options, including the most far-fetched ones. It is to know how to produce standard solutions, be creative, and innovate. Considering everything also makes it possible to rationally cut those inappropriate solutions that haunt us (ex: the magic pill that will lead you to weight loss). 


Here are some questions you can ask yourself in this phase:  


- How can you be more committed to your goal?

- How can you lift the barriers that limit you from reaching your goal? 

- If you had a magic wand, what choice would you choose to realize your aim. 

- If you had more time, what would you do? 

- What if you could start all over? What would you do differently?

- List all the possible actions to help you reach your goal. 

This phase allows you to think of new opportunities to achieve your goal: What has not yet been done and which could contribute significantly to achieving the aim. It will help you support the implementation of behaviors, improvement of a process, and modification of the period. It could even help with adopting a different position of feeling. Brainstorm all the ideas that come to mind without judging them or limiting yourself. This phase is the time to dream. 




The last phase is about commitment and actions. It is the phase where you decide what you will do. 


Here are some questions you can ask yourself in this phase:  


Which choice is your best and most actionable? What is 

The first step or action? When is your start date? What else needs to happen? 


On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being not at all, the tenant being absolute), how committed are you to that first step now? 


And how can you increase your score to be closer to ten? 


How will you hold yourself accountable for that first step? 


How will you know that you have completed the first step? 


How will you celebrate your accomplishment of that first step? 


The steps that will be made among the different options will involve a strong commitment to action that can produce change. This action may consist of doing nothing, changing a way of doing something, or a way to stop doing something. The important thing is to check the unity of the commitment to action. 


Once you have completed a cycle, go back to the choice phase, and see if you can conduct another action; repeat it until you reach your goal. 


As you can see, the GROW model is adaptable and straightforward. It can take hours or the time of a coffee break. Is it a perfect tool for taking a step back and gradually becoming instinctive? In private life, the model framework allows you to assume your choices and often find them faster and more relevant. 

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