Using the GROW Model
An action-oriented framework for structuring peer coaching sessions
The GROW Model is an action-oriented framework for structuring peer coaching sessions. "GROW" is an acronym from Goals, Reality, Options and Way Forward. This framework can be used in both Professional Coaching and Peer Coaching (see here to read about the difference). This framework is designed to help keep a conversation on track to produce the desired outcome. Let's go through the framework in the context of a peer coaching conversation between fellow managers:
Goal: What do you want to achieve?
The participant shares an overview of a particular outcome (or set of outcomes) that they are seeking, often in relation to a challenge or problem they are currently facing. However, the stated goal should not simply be described as overcoming the challenge, but rather be framed as what the challenge is preventing from happening effectively.
The peer coach can ask clarifying questions to understand the scope and motivation for the goal(s), such as:
Why is this an important goal for you right now?
Why is it a priority to discuss through peer coaching?
Who else around you is this goal important for?
What is your ideal time frame for achieving this goal?
Reality: What is the current situation?
The participant describes the current progress that has been made towards achieving their goal, and which key constraints or issues they have identified as preventing or slowing further progress.
The peer coach can ask clarifying questions to gain more insights into the issues, such as:
Have you faced this challenge before?
What strategies have you already tried?
How is this challenge impacting others?
If you don't achieve this goal, what is the implication?
Options: What could you do?
The participant brainstorms a variety of potential strategies that could be used to overcome the challenge in order to achieve their goal.
The peer coach asks a number of probing questions to promote critical reflection and more clearly define the rationale behind their stated options, such as those below, as well as sharing, if available and relevant, any anecdotes from their own experience that would be helpful to keep in mind.
What ideas do you have to achieve your goal?
What are the pros and cons of each of these options?
Which option are you least considering and why?
Who else could provide another perspective?
Way Forward: Which option will you choose to try?
The participant decides and commits on a way forward, likely choosing one of the options to trial or implement, depending on the context.
The peer coach supports the participant in making sure their plan is well thought-out by asking questions such as:
What is your first step to a good start?
What additional support will you need to seek out?
What obstacles might you face as you move forward with your preferred option, and how can you mitigate them?
How will you hold yourself accountable to implementing your new plan?
Each stage is critically important to the peer coaching conversation. Skipping or re-ordering any of the four steps will result in a discussion that is less focused and action-oriented. The participant does most of the talking while the peer coach is mostly asking questions. While there is a space for the peer coach to share some ideas related to their experience facing a similar challenge, it's almost always better to keep this limited and keep the focus on asking questions so that the participant can move forward.
It can be naturally tempting for the peer coach to jump in and try to share tips and solutions in order to solve or fix the issue that the participant is discussing, but its much better to give the participant a chance to learn more about themselves through reflection about how they are problem solving themselves.
To learn more about peer coaching and the GROW model, enroll in our Peer Coaching Network. Whether you’re an experienced professional coach, team manager or entrepreneur, you’ll get the opportunity to further develop your peer coaching skills through our Peer Coaching Essentials Guide and our monthly matching program.