Why the GROW Model Doesn't Drive Organisational Change

Why the GROW Model Doesn't Drive Organisational Change
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Popularised in the late 80’s by John Whitmore et al, the GROW model is still cited as one of the most popular and most recognisable coaching tools in the world.

This simple, sequential coaching approach often forms the most basic instruction of any new Coach.  But despite its enduring popularity, we still haven’t seen coaching break out in a way that transforms behaviour change at an organisational level.

Indeed even when organisational commitment to creating a coaching culture is strong many coaching initiatives fall flat.  As a result, organisational confidence in the ability of coaching to affect real change drops, making it much harder to sustain interest and attract future investment. So what is going wrong?  Has the GROW model outlived its usefulness in organisations?


Well, yes and no.

In terms of 1-to-1 coaching, the GROW model is a staple in any Coaches diet and we cannot think of any good reason to cast it aside altogether.  Its memorable acronym is a useful anchor in any performance oriented conversation. That said, coaching in organisations has moved on considerably in the past three decades, and the exclusive use of the GROW model, at the expense of some other wonderfully insightful tools, would be rather limited. So on balance, there is definitely a place for GROW as part of the tool kit of an agile Coach.

However, when it comes to creating behavioural change across an entire organisation, GROW hasn’t really delivered the goods. For a modern organisation operating in a VUCA world where the speed of change is transforming the way we do business, the GROW model seems displaced.  Nowadays, time has become our most precious resource, and our ability to respond immediately to the sheer pace of change is our competitive advantage.

So the GROW model, which is mostly applied in structured, formal, offline coaching conversations, is just not fit for purpose. In the context of organisational transformation, the GROW model will always fail to achieve large scale behavioural change without the means to mobilise it in an everyday, ‘in the moment’, and highly operational way.



That’s where STAR® really comes into its own. Developed by Notion, STAR® is an ‘Operational Coaching’ model that addresses the needs of today’s fast paced organisations. STAR® gives Leaders and Managers a way to bring coaching to life in their ‘normal’ place of work and gives them the ability to respond at the exact point of engagement in a way that not only enhances performance but also empowers people to generate new ideas, share problem solving and take purposeful action.

Leaders and Managers transform their relationships with people when they learn how to stop their unhelpful habitual responses and take a moment to step back and think about what question will help their colleagues or team members to most effectively respond to the challenges they face, and how best they will learn from them.

STAR® begins working as soon as it is applied. There is no need for Leaders and Managers to wait until they have completed a long training programme or have acquired a qualification to prove they can coach; with STAR® change starts with one simple question.

In fact, alongside Notion’s in-house programmes, there is also an option for Leaders and Managers to use STAR® Manager which is the latest technological advancement in behaviour change. This blended, 100% virtual behavioural change programme introduces Leaders and Managers to the STAR® model and so much more. It prompts its learners to go out into their workplaces and complete live missions right from day one; so no need for delay.

Unlike the GROW model which is rather self-contained, as Leaders and Managers practice the art of enquiry more frequently, they see the impressive changes to performance, productivity and engagement it causes. These results encourage Leaders and Managers to continue to practice an ‘Operational Coaching’ approach. Consequently, ‘Operational Coaching’ soon becomes second nature for Leaders and Managers and changes ‘the way things are done around here’ by everyone, forever.


Notion is a global expert in behaviour change. For more information about how our STAR® model can help coaching break out as a leadership style in your organisation click on the button below or call us for an informal chat on +44 (0) 1926 889 885

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