Transform Your Workplace 08 | GROWing Through Professional Problems

Transform Your Workplace 08 | GROWing Through Professional Problems

No matter how content we are with our career and life choices overall, at some point we’ll inevitably feel stuck. In these moments, it’s helpful to have reliable problem-solving tools at our disposal, along with support from colleagues and friends. That support is most useful when it comes from a non-prescriptive place—in other words, when it doesn’t include someone else diagnosing and solving your dilemmas for you. It’s much more effective to be asked questions so you can find your own insights and determine your own plan of action.

One problem-solving tool that follows this idea is the G.R.O.W. model. It was originally made popular by business coaches Graham Alexander and Sir John Whitmore in the 1980s and 1990s, and it remains a favored tool because it’s simple to follow. It helps people diagnose their own problems and encourages continuous self-improvement.

The G.R.O.W. model can be used in individual problem solving, or someone can take on the role of “coach” to guide someone else through the questions and foster a discussion.

Here’s how to use the G.R.O.W. model:

G – “Goal”

The first step is to establish the desired goal. This goal should be specific.

Ask: What outcome do you want or need to achieve? 

R – “Reality”

Next, examine the current state or reality. Identify ways that the current reality varies from the goal.

Ask: What is happening now? How does that differ from your target or desired outcome?

O – “Options”

Then, brainstorm strategies for getting from the current reality to the goal. These options should be actionable and achievable.

Ask: What are some things you can do to get closer to your goal/desired outcome?

W – “What & Will”

Once you have identified at least one viable option or strategy, the next step is to establish a plan of action to test your strategies and evaluate your level of commitment. Make sure to check in on your progress after some time has passed, and readjust your plans as needed.

Ask: What will you do? What is your action plan, and how confident are you in your ability to see it through?


Used independently or when coaching others, the GROW model challenges us to develop accountability and problem-solving skills that are important for any job.

Watch Episode 08 of Transform Your Workplace

BONUS: See how Suzi Alligood uses the GROW model with an employee

Suzi Wear

A valued member of Xenium’s Senior Leadership team, Suzi gives clients the guidance they need to be better employers. With over 18 years of experience in human resource management, Suzi has provided her expertise to clients across a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, nonprofit, retail and professional services. As VP of People Development and Culture, Suzi oversees Xenium’s training and development programs, regularly leading workshops and seminars for business owners, managers and human resource professionals throughout the Northwest.