Recently being triggered to use GROW more again I thought I do a quick write up how I use it and what I like about it.
GROW – what is it?
GROW stands for Goal – Reality – Obstacles/Options – Way Forward.
Try to approach an issue in a structured manner, find the best possible action and actually commit to doing it.
Goal means defining what you want to reach. Often originating from an unhappy place/problem that goal often ends up being a description of how it would be if the problem wouldn’t exist.
Common questions are: What do you want? How would the world look like if you reached that goal? What would it be like if the problem is solved?
Reality is my most favorite part as I find it most helpful. Here you check what you heard during goal setting. And poke the description for interpretations.
Common questions are: Do you know it is like that? Is there maybe another explanation?
Next step is Obstacles. What is in the way of you reaching that goal?
If you have your obstacle clearly define it is time for options. What can you do to overcome each obstacle?
The last step is to pick one option to do and commit to your way forward. Which of the options are you actually going to take and until when will you have taken it? The picked option is either the one that promises the most success or can be a first step in a longer row of steps.
I personally like GROW for 2 reasons.
I use it for myself to structure my thoughts around a problem. A couple of times I had the chance to ask a friend to support me and run through a GROW session with me. Here the most helpful was saying things out loud. By having to state what the problem actually is and getting questioned about the reality things often became a lot clearer. Just saying things out loud made them less intimidating and way easier to approach.
That is from my point of view. But I also occasionally use GROW to turn conversations with colleagues around. You know the situation you stand by the water cooler and your colleague starts complaining. The reflex is to jump in with solutions. Give some good advice and leave. But often that is not actually helpful as that will seldom be the right solution for your colleague and even if you hit a lucky strike and your solution fits it’s doubtful if your colleague will use it as it didn’t really come from him. Switching into GROW mode better understanding the issue and helping your colleague to come up with her own options is often way more helpful. That sounds bigger than it is. You don’t need to block one hour sessions to do that. Once you have internalized the process it can be just the casual conversation by the water cooler you had before just with way different results. Don’t offer solutions. Let the other person do the talking and just steer them towards options.
Curious to hear about your experiences.