Powerful Coaching Questions To Use With The GROW Model

Powerful Coaching Questions To Use With The GROW Model

The GROW Model – originally developed by Graham Alexander, Alan Fine, and Sir John Whitmore is the coaching framework most commonly used by Managers to coach their employees; improve performance, solve problems, make better decisions, learn new skills, and reach their career goals.

The key to coaching and using the GROW model lies in asking powerful questions. Coaching isn’t telling the employee what to do—it’s helping the employee come up with their own answers by asking the right question at the right time.

The following are coaching questions managers can use, categorised within the framework of the four-step GROW model.


Goal Setting: What do you want to achieve?

  1. What is the aim of this discussion?
  2. What would need to happen for you to walk away feeling that this time was well spent?
  3. If I could grant you a wish for this session, what would it be?
  4. What would you like to happen that is not happening now, or what would you like not to happen that is happening now?
  5. What outcome would you like from this session/discussion/interaction?
  6. If you had a magic wand, what would be the ideal outcome?
  7. If you had three wishes, what would they be?
  8. Can we do that in the time we have available?
  9. What do you want to achieve long term?
  10. What does success look like?
  11. How much personal control or influence do you have over your goal?
  12. What would be a milestone on the way?
  13. When do you want to achieve it by?
  14. Is that realistic?
  15. Is that positive, challenging, attainable?
  16. Will that be of real value to you?
  17. How will you measure it?

Reality: Where are you now?

  1. What is happening now? (what, where, when, who, how much, how often). Be precise if possible.
  2. How do you know that this is accurate?
  3. How have you verified, or would you verify, that that is so?
  4. What other factors are relevant?
  5. Who is involved (directly and indirectly)?
  6. What is their perception?
  7. When things are going badly on this issue, what happens to you?
  8. What happens to the others directly involved?
  9. What is the effect on others?
  10. What is the impact on results?
  11. What have you done about this so far?
  12. What results did that produce?
  13. What is missing in the situation?
  14. What do you have that you’re not using?
  15. What is holding you back?
  16. What is really going on (intuition)?

Options: How to Proceed

  1. What could you do to change the situation?
  2. Tell me what possibilities for action you see. Do not worry about whether they are realistic at this stage.
  3. What approach/actions have you seen used, or used yourself, in similar circumstances?
  4. What else could you do?
  5. What if…? (time, power, money, etc.)
  6. Who might be able to help?
  7. Would you like another suggestion from me?
  8. Which options do you like the most?
  9. What are the benefits and costs of each?
  10. How feasible is that option?
  11. Which options are of interest to you?
  12. Would you like to choose an option to act on?

Wrap Up or way forward: Action Plan

  1. What option or options do you choose?
  2. To what extent does this meet all your objectives?
  3. What are your criteria and measurements for success?
  4. When precisely are you going to start and finish each action step?
  5. What could arise to hinder you in taking these steps?
  6. What personal resistance do you have, if any, to taking these steps?
  7. What will you do to eliminate these external and internal factors?
  8. Who needs to know what your plans are?
  9. What support do you need and from whom?
  10. What will you do to obtain that support and when?
  11. What could I do to support you?
  12. What commitment on a 1-to-10 scale do you have to taking these agreed actions?
  13. What prevents this from being a 10?
  14. What could you do or alter to raise this commitment closer to 10?
  15. Is there anything else you want to talk about now or are we finished?


Are there any other questions that you ask in coaching?

Richard McCarthy

Richard joined OMT in 1998 and is head of Consultancy Services following a 14 year international career in project management, financial control and various management development roles. Richard specialises in working with Senior and Middle Management, focusing on critical Organisational Development Initiatives such as Strategy Development & Implementation, Change Management, and the roll-out of extensive Management & Leadership Development Programmes and One to One Executive Coaching. His previous work across Europe and Africa has helped him understand the impact of organisational culture, and change on managers’ ability to deliver successful results. Richard enjoys the challenge he gets from his work, especially working with clients who face difficult strategic choices or need to develop new skills & behaviours. Richard believes the rewards are satisfying when you know you have made a meaningful contribution.

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