A look at the GROW Model and an unabashed and shameless pitch for coaching services offered by Andreas Gross
Last Updated: 11/29/2021
Greetings and good day, Ladies and Gents,
If you’re reading this in the U.S., today is the famed and acclaimed “Cyber Monday” – i.e. “the Monday after” (after Black Friday, that is) where you can find thousands upon thousands of online shopping mega-deals! Missed Black Friday? Physical stores didn’t have what you were looking for? Or you just didn’t want to wade through the sea of people and get a black eye fighting with that bearded toothless hag over the last oversized VR set on the shelf at the big box store? Try shopping CYBER MONDAY instead!
Well, aside from shopping those online deals, today is the next Coaching Is... post here on the Andreas Philip Gross Enterprises blog. As I promised in the first Coaching Is... post back on Veterans Day (which was highly logistical in nature about what you would get if you hired me as your coach), I said that moving forward I would be trying to post more tips and practical advice that you can use to light your life on fire on a day-to-day basis. So here it goes – a practical tip you can put into practice in your life right now: it’s called the GROW Model, and it’s a great tool for setting goals and following through with an action plan to execute them!
Coaches (and coachees who have "started on their journeys,” as it were) have a plethora of tools in their toolboxes they can work with. One such tool is the GROW Model, sometimes referred to as the GROW Process. This is a technique that has been around a while, so there is a good chance that even those who are not intimately familiar with the world of coaching may have heard of it in one form or another. Having said that, I will admit that I had not heard of the technique until I studied coaching, but I did know several components of the technique as just ‘solid methods of goal setting’ back in my life as a ‘commoner’ when I was just a ‘regular’ educator (i.e. before I studied coaching)...I am being facetious here, if you couldn’t tell, but it's all true!
The technique was developed by business coaches Graham Alexander, Alan Fine, and Sir John Whitmore in the UK in the late 1980s and first given a name in print in the 1990s. The GROW Model is one of a number of excellent methodical ways of thinking about issues to solve problems and set goals for growth and advancement.
The term is an acronym. The letters stand for:
“G” – Goal: the goal should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound, ecological, and the right goal for you to focus on at this point in time.
S.M.A.R.T. Goals are a whole topic of discussion in and of themselves that we will we will focus on more specifically in the next Coaching is.... post. A goal’s “ecology” refers to how the goal fits into the “ecosystem” of your current life...how will this goal affect – or not – other aspects of your life for better or worse, and just exactly how much control do you really have over achieving this goal and all aspects involved with it?
And, of course, the “right goal for you” is talking about priorities. Is this goal you would like to work towards right now really the right thing for you at this current point in time? Are you prioritizing your needs and wants in life optimally for you right now?
This first step is of absolute crucial importance, as you may realize a number of things in your analysis of the goal you so desire – or think you so desire. For starters, you may come to the conclusion that you are barking up the wrong tree altogether, so to speak! When you sit down and really think about what it is that you want to achieve, you might come to the conclusion that that you are misguiding your energies, and what you actually want/need is something else entirely. Or, and this happens frequently, too, you may come to the conclusion that your goal is fine and well-directed, but it is not the right time in your life to go after this. Or perhaps you come to the conclusion that you actually have less control over the goal than you may have thought you had, in which case you will want to re-think things and define a more specific goal that you have control over.
“R” – Reality: where you are right now. This refers to the current reality of the situation and ambient atmosphere around you that you find yourself in at the present time. What’s happening around you? What are you dealing with? What do you have to work with in front of you RIGHT NOW? Who/What are the other players/factors in the game, if any?
Essentially, if you were to start working on/towards “X” RIGHT NOW, what immediate tools would you have to get started with today and what kind of an environment would you be working in now – today? It is often when really taking the time to think through and analyze all there is to analyze at this phase that many people come to the realization that (often times) their predicament is not quite a dire as they thought it may have been! (I say “often times” because, well, sometimes it is just as dire if not more than originally thought – but that is generally the exception, not the rule.)
“O” – Opportunity: what else is possible? What options do you have? Who can help you? Have you really sat down to think about what ALL of your possible options and their outcomes could be, including whether or not there are different angles/perspectives through which you could approach this goal? What is/are the payoff(s) associated with successfully achieving this goal? What kind of actual day-to-day work would be required to achieve this goal?
“W” – Will or Way Forward: what is the whole plan? What is the first step? What action will you take? This is the part where you “get serious” and really take the time to hash out your “master plan” – a detailed course of action, taking all the previous G.R.O. steps you have just been through into careful consideration as you formulate this plan.
All too frequently, people who are inexperienced goal-setters see a problem/issue facing them in their life and jump straight to the “W” step to face it – bypassing the “G,” “R,” and “O” steps completely or nearly completely. More often than not, this is an instant recipe for disaster (“disaster,” in this case, being the inability to follow through with your desired goal – or at least what you thought was your desired goal!). Jumping straight into drawing up a plan to “take care of the problem” without carefully considering timing, priorities, what you might actually be seeking under the surface, current support and resources available, and all the other factors that come to the surface when working through the “G,” “R,” and “O” steps is like embarking on a journey with only half a bag of supplies and half a map and “hoping” everything else will “just naturally” fall into place along the way. While things might “naturally fall into place” along the way, they also might just as well not.
Taking care to properly follow each step of the GROW Model – from G to W – won’t necessarily guarantee you either that you will absolutely reach your goal – YOU alone still have to go through the nitty-gritty of following through with everything – but it will help ensure that a much more complete action plan is in place than half a bag of supplies and a half-finished map for you to draw from while you walk the journey towards your goal!
Let’s look at a quick example here before wrapping this post up:
Let’s say I am a teacher looking to set up a weekend tutoring business. In this scenario, let’s say I have tutored various students on and off here and there over the years and now I am looking to pull the trigger and get serious with opening an actual structured tutoring business. I want to rent office space on main street, set regular business hours, register my tutoring business as a legal business entity, hire a few other teachers (employees), the works.....now I am going to use the GROW Model to help myself try and figure out the feasibility of my goal. These are SOME OF the questions I may consider as I work through the GROW Model with this particular idea. This list of questions is not exhaustive! The questions you ask largely depend on YOUR unique situation at the time.
“G” – Goal:
Is the goal SMART? Is this goal specific? Can I measure its success? How will I clearly know when the goal has been achieved? Is it relevant to me, my life, my skills, dreams, and desires? Is it time-bound? When will this scenario happen? Is there a timeline in place for getting started and being able to say "the goal has been achieved"? Is it ecological? Are there other things going on in my life that may impede (or further promote) this goal’s ability to come to fruition at the moment? Do I have connections to help make this happen? Do I have any external supports in place? Are there any external players/factors working against me? Is this the right goal for me to be focusing on right now at this particular point in my life? While this may be a good and worthy goal, are there any other more important items that I should focus on and get in shape in my own life FIRST before I start working towards this goal (priorities)?
“R” – Reality:
What is the reality I have to work with RIGHT NOW to get started? “G” slides very nicely into “R” on the point of the ecology of the goal....Are there other things going on in my life that may impede (or further promote) this goal’s ability to come to fruition at the moment? Do I have connections to help make this happen? Do I have any external supports in place? Are there any external players/factors working against me? What skills/know-how do I currently have right now to allow me to get started. What connections/supports do I currently have RIGHT NOW to help me get started – or what connections/supports do I have to get in place before I get started? Who would I be working with? I said I wanted to hire employees – do I already have people in mind, or would I be hiring “cold”? What does the market for my intended services look like? Is there a market – is my idea even commercially viable at all? I said I wanted office space on main street – how feasible really is this? Do I have the time in my schedule (or can I make time in my current schedule) to physically work through all these steps? Do I have a business plan? Do I have start-up funds? How will I pay to get started? Can I register and get a license for what I want to do?
“O” – Opportunity:
“R” molds nicely into “O” here for this particular goal with market and commercial viability? Is there a market for my services? Is the opportunity for this venture to take-off really there, or am I planting a seed in a desert with no irrigation options with this idea? Have I really explored all the possible options regarding my idea and the possible implications/outcomes it may have? What else is possible? What other options might I have? If I change/modify the original idea in certain ways, will it make the idea more or less viable? For example, in my original line of thinking I said I wanted to rent physical office space on main street for this endeavor – what if I open up a totally online tutoring business instead? Would that change my costs? Market? Market reach? Commercial viability of the idea? What would be the “costs” associated with both success and failure of this idea?
“W” – Will or Way Forward:
This one is simple – now I’m ready to write up my business plan. After all my back-planning and analysis I am in a much better, clearer space right now to be able to come up with a killer, solid business plan for my tutoring business....or, maybe I came to the conclusion while going through steps “G,” “R,” and “O” that this is not the right endeavor for me to pursue, or maybe not the right endeavor for me to pursue right now.
That’s all for today, folks.
Better life, better business, better you!
Ideas, inspiration, opportunity,
Andreas Philip Gross Enterprises
Washington State Certified K-8 Educator, K-12 International Education Consultant, Professional Coach, Proofreader/Editor, Affiliate Marketer, Popsicle Stick Crafter, Print-on-Demand Products Designer, and Webmaster
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International K-12 Educator,