How the GROW® Model Removes Interferences and Increases Performance

Once we have a basic understanding of the types of interferences humans encounter, we can work on getting rid of these obstacles to high performance. The key is to have a simple, repeatable process to create Focus on a regular basis - without it, your performance will consistently be impaired by interference, resulting in diminished Faith, Fire, and Focus. 

This is where the GROW® Model can be of enormous benefit. If used correctly, this model will make clearer where the problem is, provide Focus, and show individuals and teams what the next step should be.


Understanding the GROW Model

GROW, as demonstrated above in the model, is an acronym that stands for Goal, Reality, Options, and Way Forward - the four components of any decision-making process. When using the GROW Model correctly, it will become clearer where the problem is and the necessary next step that needs to be taken. Every result is a consequence of taking action, and every action is the result of a decision. In other words, decisions lead to actions that lead to results. GROW  is a systematic approach to decision-making that helps determine where you want to go and how to get there. 

The GROW Model is constructed upon decades of insight that is deceptively simple - breakthrough performance often comes not from knowing more about what to do, but from removing interference that allows the person to act on what they already know. By making good decisions that lead to effective actions, productive results are achieved. This decision velocity - the speed and accuracy of decisions that drive individual and organizational performance - will exponentially decrease the ability of interferences to hinder performance.



Grow in Grow ModelGoal is the component of the GROW Model that defines what increased performance looks like. It seems simple, but one of the most common interferences individuals encounter is forgetting to focus on the goal.  By stepping back and focusing on the goal, there is a quick reduction in noise and an increased calming of the mind. 

It’s also crucial to make sure you are setting the right goal. How often do you put your focus on a project or goal that doesn’t help you get any closer to your actual vision? The GROW Model, when used correctly, is intended to avoid this type of interference by ensuring that your focus remains on the goals that help you move forward in the direction you want (and need) to move by ensuring you follow the proper sequence in problem-solving that was designed to ensure the best probability of success.

This is accomplished by simply asking, or being asked, questions such as:

  • What issue do I want to work through?
  • What do I want from this GROW “session” (session being the time spent resolving the issue)?
  • What are the consequences if I do not take action?


GROW Model Inc. Performance Blog Images_Reality

Reality is the component of the GROW Model that includes taking an honest look at where you are, considering the barriers to success, and deciding if the goal you have focused on is achievable. This comes through questions such as:

  • What’s been happening?
  • What have I tried so far? What were the results?
  • What’s my sense of the obstacles for me? For others (if others are involved)?
  • In what different way might others describe this situation?
  • Is my goal still realistic?

Only once you’ve established a clear and attainable goal should you consider the reality. We tend to jump right into the reality of any situation we face, but we shouldn’t. Think of some problem-solving sessions you’ve had: they generally start with, “Here’s what’s going wrong, and everything I’ve tried, and it never works, and these are all the people and things getting in my way.” In all that venting, you lose focus of the goal. Once you understand your goal, you are in a better frame of mind to reflect on reality.



Options in Grow ModelOptions is the stage of the GROW Model where you can begin thinking of options to solve the problem or make the decision. At this stage, quantity is better than quality - generate as many ideas as possible. In our InsideOut Development workshops, we encourage participants to generate at least 20 options to solve their problems.

When thinking about all of the available options, make a concerted effort to remain untethered from reality. As questions like, “If anything were possible, what would I/you do?” It may feel odd or silly, but continue asking, “What else?” until all ideas have been exhausted. Describe fantasyland! 

  • If I could do anything to make progress on this issue, what might I do?
  • If others are involved, what would they need to see or hear to get their attention?
  • If I were watching myself work through this issue, what would I recommend?
  • Do any of these options interest me enough to explore it further?
  • If I were to act on the chosen option(s), how might I go about it?

Generating potential solutions or alternatives to achieving goals is important, but until you have developed a clear and specific action plan, the goal won’t be met. Now is the time to find a Way Forward.


Way Forward

Way forward in Grow ModelOnce you’ve set a Goal, clarified your Reality, and brainstormed Options, you are ready to chart a Way Forward. During the Way Forward stage of the GROW Model, a specific action plan is selected from the available choices that were created during the Options phase. Thinking, planning, and problem-solving aren’t helpful unless we get to an actionable next step. Developing a clear and specific Way Forward encourages individuals to get granular on their next steps, creating the details of the new performance goal. This Way Forward eliminates ambiguity and drives action, not just planning. 

To begin to sift through the available course(s) of actions, ask yourself these questions when it comes to each option:

  • Do any of these options interest me enough to take action?
  • What would the first and second steps look like if I were to take action on this option?
  • What might get in my way? How could these possible obstacles to action be overcome?
  • When would I need to take the next step for each option? What are the possible or actual deadlines for action on each option?

Developing a clear way forward increases ownership of outcomes because the person seeking to reach the goal is the one who helped create them. They are committed to the action because they are committed to the end result. Leaving a planning meeting with a clear Way Forward is essential, or the problem hasn’t been fully solved and the stated goal is even less likely to be achieved. 

By setting a simple next-step Way Forward, the goal is broken down into task-based goals that the individual will feel confident they can accomplish. This relieves anxiety, eliminates ambiguity, and drives action, opening up the potential of discovering systemic strategies to achieve larger performance goals in the future. 



InsideOut Development is the world leader in workplace and executive leadership coaching. Quite simply, we help our clients hold conversations that energize people, motivate action, and lead to better - even incredible - business performance. Our GROW® Coaching programs are rooted in scientifically proven methodologies built upon simple fundamentals. We know how to unlock potential, improve individual and team performance, and yield measurable results.

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